Elon Musk in “The World”, from PayPal to SpaceX

Che is officially the richest man in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The fortune of Elon Musk, boss of SpaceX and Tesla, maker of electric cars and reusable rockets, grew by $ 121 billion in 2021, accumulating a wealth of $ 277 billion in the 1is January 2022.

This propels him far ahead of his lifelong rival, Jeff Bezos ($ 190 billion), founder of Amazon and Blue Origins. At the back of the pack are Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft father Bill Gates.

At the beginning, SpaceX slips

At World, Jean Lasar is the first to have sensed the potential of young Elon Musk. In the daily dated March 14, 2000, the journalist devotes a short article to the launch of X. com, a virtual bank which “Intends to carve out the lion’s share of the Internet financial services market”. Elon Musk is 28 years old and has no banking background. But he knew how to secure the trust of “One of the most prominent investors in the sector”, Lasar already notes. In 2002, a brief announcement that the site, now PayPal, was sold to eBay for $ 1.5 billion, which Musk reinvested in space projects.

Two years later, on June 22, 2004, the special envoy of World in Al Segundo, at the headquarters of his new company, SpaceX, dedicated to the conquest of space and the colonization of Mars, announces that “Billionaire Elon Musk wants to compete with Boeing by offering $ 6 million launches” (i.e. one third of market prices). Admittedly, at the beginning, the project patina.

In March 2007, Jérôme Fenoglio recounts the second failure for SpaceX: “The South African multimillionaire certainly succeeded, Tuesday, March 20, in hoisting his private rocket to an altitude of 300 km, but his Falcon-1 failed to reach its objective set at 700 km altitude. (…) The machine flew only five minutes, before its second stage suffered damage which precipitated it towards the ocean. Demonstrating SpaceX’s Launcher Capability (…) to place satellites in the correct orbit, is therefore not yet done ”, analyzes the journalist, who nevertheless confirms Musk’s ambition: ” He hears (…) prove that the era low-cost launch is now open. “

A very political shot

During three years, The world follows the technological gropings of the engineer, who also takes control of Tesla, the manufacturer of electric cars, in 2008. On March 30, 2010, Jérôme Fenoglio, definitely passionate, devotes a long portrait to him. Falcon 9, the first heavy rocket model that will be used to refuel the International Space Station (ISS), is due for launch in April. A very political shot: ” A failure (…) would have been placed at the speed of Barack Obama’s new space strategy, which is very favorable to the development of a private sector ”, notes the journalist, knowing that the administration has heavily funded SpaceX, which now employs 800 people.

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Elon Musk in “The World”, from PayPal to SpaceX