SpaceX hopes to send conduct the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from US soil in nine years today in a historic rocket launch. The private rocket company, which is owned by billionaire Elon Musk, is repeating its attempt after the firm’s first go on Wednesday, May 27 was postponed due to poor weather. The launch is scheduled to lift off at 3.22pm EDT (8.22pm BST) today, weather conditions dependent.
The SpaceX launch – should it go ahead this afternoon – represents yet another milestone for Elon Musk and his firm.
Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, just two years before he joined electric car company Tesla.
Ever the dreamer, his goal was to eventually build more affordable spacecraft – with the final aim to one day reach and colonise Mars.
Musk has previously pledged to send an unmanned SpaceX rocket to Mars, carrying only cargo, by 2022.
Elon Musk net worth: How much is Elon Musk worth?
And he’s aiming for a second mission to transport humans to Mars by 2024.
Engineer and aerospace consultant Jim Cantrell said in 2018 of Musk’s Mars dreams: “Elon really doesn’t care about the money — he wants to go to Mars.
“It was always focused on Mars, none of this was focused on the market.
“I was the guy who had the market focus, and I was like, ‘Hey, look Elon, we’ve got to have a return on investment.’
“His response to me was, ‘I don’t really give a damn about return on investment.’”
Until his Red Planet dreams come to fruition, Musk’s firm is working hard to dominate the commercial space business.
A successful launch today adds another notch to the reusable rockets his company pioneered, which would make space flight substantially cheaper.
The SpaceX lift off today would also mark the first time commercially-developed space vehicles have launched Americans into orbit.
Should today go ahead as planned, the launch would help Musk prove SpaceX is a viable option for future NASA missions.
But while Cantrell says Musk is not concerned by money, only his dream to reach Mars, he has made a killing over the years thanks to his business savvy mind.
How much is Elon Musk worth?
Elon Musk is worth a reported $ 20 billion (£16.2 billion).
The official salary he currently receives from Tesla is far more modest, with the CEO earning just $ 37,000 (£30,000) per year.
He says he’d give up a salary altogether, but California law prohibits him from earning less than minimum wage.
He told the Times: “I don’t cash it. It just ends up accumulating in a Tesla bank account somewhere.”
In December 2016, he was ranked 21st on the Forbes list of The World’s Most Powerful People.
And three years later, he was ranked joint-first on the Forbes list of the Most Innovative Leaders of 2019.
As of May 2020, Musk is listed by Forbes as the 31st-richest person in the world.
But the sky is not the limit where Elon Musk is concerned. And should his Mars dreams come to fruition, he could easily find himself surpassing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos – worth a phenomenal $ 113 billion – as the richest man in history.
As Elon Musk’s net worth has grown, so has the value of SpaceX.
The US commercial space firm has secured contracts from NASA worth more than $ 3.1 billion (£2.5 billion).
This staggering sum has helped to fund the development of the Crew Dragon space capsule, which – weather permitting – will carry the two NASA astronauts today.
SpaceX has also raised nearly $ 1.7 billion (£1.3 billion) from investors since it was set up.