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Musk's Redemption

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The Musk Redemption

The Falcon Heavy has finally arrived!

As you watch this video, A cherry red Tesla Roadster travels in space, and Starman the mannequin sporting SpaceX sleek spacesuit is in the driver’s seat, where it will sit for millions of years.

And in a deeper sense, Starman serves as a metaphor to Elon Musk’s path to greatness.

We will get to all of that in a minute.

Our Journey starts in 2001, when everything began.

Elon Musk was 30 years old.

Musk originally didn’t set out to start an Aerospace Company.

He merely wanted to get the public excited about space again, namely, excited about going to Mars, and he was willing to spend his own money to do so!

So, he came up with an idea called the Mars Oasis, which consisted of a small greenhouse that would be sent to and land on Mars, and with that, would be the farthest that life has ever traveled.

The greenhouse would send video feed back to earth so people could watch it grow.

By getting the public excited about going to Mars, Musk hoped that such a mission would eventually lead to additional NASA funding needed for a manned Mars Mission.

Musk wanted to finance, two missions incase the first one failed, he was not a billionaire at this time but he was willing to spend up to $30 million on the missions.

But Musk ran into a big problem, finding a rocket that can send the small greenhouse to Mars within his budget.

The cheapest US rocket was $65 million and was way too expensive.

But Musk was determined accomplish this meaningful mission, so he took a coach flight to Moscow to buy an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile at a much cheaper price than a US launch vehicle.

Musk brought along Adeo Ressi his best friend from college and Jim Cantrell who was a consultant and worked on various joint missile defense programs conducted between America and Russia in the past, and is now the co-founder of Vector Space Systems.

They set up meetings with various companies, to include Kosmotras, a commercial rocket launcher based in Moscow.

All of the meetings were unsuccessful, the Russians did not take Musk seriously, and according to Cantrell, one of the chief designers spat and him and Elon because he thought they were full of it, and Musk returned without a rocket.

And then in February 2002 Musk and his team went back to Moscow with reinforcements in the name of Mike Griffin who worked for In-Q-Tel which was the venter capital arm of the CIA and also worked for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.

Musk also brought a briefcase full of cash on this trip to show that he was serious.

Again, they met with officials from Kosmotras in an old building Moscow.

Shots of vodka started to flow, and Musk started to ask how much for a missile, and negotiation unfolded and abruptly ended when one of them said to Musk, “Young boy. No”.

And at that point Musk stormed out of the meeting and his team followed, and went straight to the airport to return again empty handed

Cantrell sits next to Griffin on the plane ride home, Musk is sitting quietly in the row in front of them.

 This is part of the story that is legendary, and where SpaceX began.

Legend goes, Cantrell and Griffin ordered drinks, happy to be leaving Russia.

Cantrell notices Musk working on his laptop, and at some point during the flight home, Musk turns around with a spreadsheet he created.

Musk said, “Hey guys, I think we can build this rocket ourselves.”

Upon their return, Musk read every book about rocket science he could get his hands on, including Rocket Propulsion Elements, Fundamentals of Astrodynamics, and Aerothermodynamics of Gas Turbine and Rocket Propulsion.

By May 2002, SpaceX was founded, and the rest is history.

Alright, fast forward to today, I am so happy the Falcon Heavy launched successfully!

Look how smoothly the rocket lifts off of the history launchpad 39A, what a sight!

27 Merlin 1D engines, all firing, generating 620 kN of thrust!

The most powerful operational rocket in the world, with more than twice the payload capacity to LEO as the Delta IV Heavy at one third of the launch cost!

SpaceX was able to land both of the side boosters simultaneously, absolutely incredible!

But its center core booster hit the Atlantic Ocean at about 300 mph and about 328 feet away from the drone ship.

So, what’s next for the Falcon Heavy?

SpaceX will work towards qualification to launch classified payloads for the US government, namely the US Air Force.

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