Rocket Man and entrepreneur Elon Musk heads up SpaceX, a spaceship manufacturer that promises to provide space travel aboard its Falcon 9 rockets at a mere $20 million a seat. While the seating accommodations will be spacious, we don't believe heavy-weight film director Kevin Smith will consider purchasing two seats since he's use to paying under $100 dollars for all his flights.
Elon Musk & SpaceXSince President Obama's budget request for 2011 calls for dismantling the Constellation program and its Moon launches, talks are underway to hire a private enterprise to provide transportation to and from the International Space Stations, sort of like an out-sourced taxi service for American astronauts.
Boeing and Lockheed Martin will also submit bids, but the odds-on favorite to win such a contract is SpaceX. Musk expects that his Falcon 9 will be ready for its maiden flight of cargo by first half of 2011 and actual passenger trips in three years.
Musk who has a colorful biography oddly enough has ties to Hollywood. A statue of the comic book character Iron Man, with an employee I.D. badge around his neck, can be found in his offices. And Musk himself served as a real-life role model for Tony Stark, the industrialist-turned-superhero in the “Iron Man” movie. The SpaceX factory appears in the sequel, and Mr. Musk has a bit part.
As the previous owner of PayPal, Musk made his millions by selling the online payment service to eBay. He in turn has invested approximately $100 million of those capital gains into SpaceX, nearly twice what he originally planned but at one fourth to one-third the cost that a traditional engine manufacturer would have required.
So while Iron Man returns to the theaters in April, also keep an eye out the Real Iron Man who may be running the US space program in the very foreseeable future.
That's one small step for man and two seats for Kevin Smith, if he can spare the $20 million!
UPDATE: February 17, 1PM ET - Within an hour after this story was written and totally unrelated to the topic of this blog, one of Elon Musk's other companies experienced a terrible loss. Musk, also CEO of Tesla Motors based in the Silicon Valley announced that a plane crash killed three of his executives that worked for the company. A twin-engine Cessna crashed into electric transmission lines shortly
after take-off from a small airport, exploding on impact, killing all
three people on-board and crashing into an East Palo Alto neighborhood,