Elon Musk, the South African environmentalist and entrepreneur, is best known for his electric-car start up company, Tesla Motors—and although he received $465 million in federal loans earlier this year to keep Tesla alive, Musk wants more. Not for Tesla though, for his other startup—SpaceX.
SpaceX is Musk’s private rocket company. Intended to serve the market of private and commercial space transportation, SpaceX hopes to receive federal financial assistance for the Falcon 9 heavy rocket. Then, SpaceX will charge the government for its outer-space services. Although Musk’s request seems a bit out-of-this-world, he just might get it. The Obama administration has considered utilizing private rocket companies to launch a future space station. Currently, SpaceX has facilities and/or offices in Hawthorne, CA, Houston, TX, Cape Canaveral, FL, and Washington D.C.
SpaceX though, doesn’t have a very high success rate. It has blown through more than $120 million in private funds, millions of dollars in government fees, and has been bailed out by Musk’s partner, PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel. On the other hand, SpaceX did manage to successfully launch one satellite—but even that memory is outshined by the one of launching the ashes of Star Trek actor James “Scotty” Doohan into the ocean instead of beaming him up into space.
If the government grants his astronomical request, SpaceX will be kept in orbit, but more places than just Houston might have a problem with it.