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In October 2001, Musk travelled to Moscow with Jim Cantrell (an aerospace supplies fixer), and Adeo Ressi (his best friend from college), to buy refurbished Dnepr Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that could send the envisioned payloads into space.
The group met with companies such as NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras; however, according to Cantrell, Musk was seen as a novice and was consequently spat on by one of the Russian chief designers, and the group returned to the United States empty-handed.
In September 2008, Space X's Falcon 1 rocket became the first privately funded liquid-fueled vehicle to put a satellite into Earth orbit.
In 2006, Space X was awarded a contract from NASA to continue the development and test of the Space X Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft in order to transport cargo to the International Space Station, NASA Commercial Resupply Services program contract on December 23, 2008, for 12 flights of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the Space Station, replacing the US Space Shuttle after it retired in 2011.
Musk stated in June 2016 that the first unmanned flight of the larger Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) spacecraft is aimed for departure to the red planet in 2022, to be followed by the first manned MCT Mars flight departing in 2024.This was the first time in history such a feat had been achieved by an orbital rocket and is a significant step towards rocket reusability lowering the costs of access to space.The relatively immense power to weight ratio allows each Merlin 1D engine to vertically lift the weight of 40 average family cars.Series A investor, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Inc.; co-chairman of Open AI; and founder and CEO of Neuralink.
Musk is also a co-founder and former chairman of Solar City, co-founder of Zip2, and founder of X.com, which merged with Confinity and took the name Pay Pal.In combination, the 9 Merlin engines in the Falcon 9 first stage produce anywhere from 5.8 to 6.7 MN (1.3 to 1.5 million pounds) of thrust, depending on altitude.