21st Century Council
Elon Musk is the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).
At SpaceX, Elon is the chief designer, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. In 2008, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft won the NASA contract to provide a commercial replacement for the cargo transport function of the Space Shuttle, which retires in 2011. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company to successfully recover a spacecraft from Earth orbit with its Dragon spacecraft.
At Tesla, Elon has overseen product development and design from the beginning, including the all electric Tesla Roadster and Model S sedan. Transitioning to a sustainable energy economy, in which electric vehicles play a pivotal role, has been one of his central interests for almost two decades, stemming from his time as a physics student working on ultracapacitors in Silicon Valley.
In addition, Elon is the non-executive chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, which he helped create. SolarCity is now the leading provider of solar power systems in the United States.
Prior to SpaceX, Elon co-founded PayPal, the world's leading Internet payment system, and served as the company's Chairman and CEO. Before PayPal, Mr. Musk co-founded Zip2, a provider of Internet software to the media industry.
In 2007, Musk was recognized for his work by Research and Development Magazine’s, receiving their Innovator of the Year Award. He received the 2007/2008 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics award for the greatest contribution to the field of space transportation. In 2008, Musk was named as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine and received the Aviation Week 2008 Laureate for the most significant achievement worldwide in the space industry.
In 2009, the National Space Society awarded Musk their Von Braun Trophy, given for leadership of the most significant achievement in space. In 2010, Musk was the youngest recipient of the Auto Executive of the Year Innovator Award for his work at Tesla Motors. Most recently, he was named to the Time 100 for 2010.
He has a physics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a business degree from Wharton.