SpaceX launched in 2002 with Elon Musk saying he expected nothing but a failure.
“When I started SpaceX I thought that the most likely outcome was failure. And I think to have any other expectation would have been irrational.”
Even so, it was an industry that the entrepreneur wanted to enter into. “In certain sectors, solar, electric, space, you don’t see a lot of activity,” says Musk. “The problem is that in the absence of a new entrance into an industry, you don’t have that force for innovation. It’s really new entrants that drive the force for anything.”
“That’s why I devote my interest to those industries, and those are industries that require capital to get going.” The idea from the start was to produce reusable rockets from scratch, which at the time was unheard of.
For the private space program, Elon didn’t seek investor funding for the first three rounds. His reasoning was that investors at the time would never get involved in a company that had nothing but failures under its belt. So Elon invested $100 million of his own funds.
“When you’ve got the donut in the success field and a lot of public failures it becomes a problem,” says Elon. The company has since grown exponentially, with 160 employees in 2005, and 500 employed in 2008. Finally on May 25, 2012, the company achieved their efforts of launching a private rocket into space and returning the reusable craft.