Should Elon Musk have been a recluse dedicated solely to constructing SpaceX, he would still be the most influential personality of the current century. 

This isn’t an exaggeration from my side. I genuinely believe it. 

I devote a significant portion of my time to examining the shortcomings in our society, and there is a multitude too vast to address on that side of the spectrum. 

Nevertheless, there are numerous positive developments as well, mainly within the realm of engineering startups. For each instance of Boeing disintegrating before our very eyes, there exists a SpaceX or a Boom striving to revolutionize some facet of the world. 

The United States still harbors entrepreneurs and visionaries who are shaping the future, with no other nation accommodating as many. Elon Musk epitomizes a character from a Heinlein novel, propelling the world forward into a new era. 

Disregard Twitter. Disregard politics. Even disregard Tesla. SpaceX is reshaping the world, and many individuals have yet to take notice. Nevertheless, Musk is transforming space travel into a commodity, consequently unveiling a new frontier. 

The mastermind blogger Glenn Reynolds referenced this excellent piece on Substack by James Pethokoukis, who definitely needs a name more effortless to pronounce, recalling the miraculous occurrences unfolding in Boca Chica. 

Merely a decade ago, Musk’s firm SpaceX achieved the first-ever landing of a Falcon 9—it was back in 2015. With this feat, Musk propelled the world into a new epoch: reusable spacecraft. And with reusable spacecraft comes increasingly economical access to space. 

SpaceX now accomplishes successful landings routinely—and as a matter of routine, with over 130 launches anticipated this year, both for external clients and in the launching of Starlink satellites, totaling more than 5000. 

Elon Musk operates the largest satellite network globally, overshadowing every nation on earth. By a substantial margin. 

The cost of launches has significantly decreased and is poised to plummet even further. All thanks to Musk. 

It is imperative to contemplate the groundbreaking decline in launch expenditures, the primary facilitator of the nascent space age. As outlined by Citigroup in a 2022 research report, NASA’s Launch costs saw a steep decline from over $100,000/kg in the mid-1960s to approximately $5,400/kg for the Saturn V utilized in the Apollo expeditions commencing in 1967. Following the Apollo 11 lunar landing, average launch costs remained relatively unchanged for decades, averaging around $16,000/kg for medium/heavy payloads and approximately $30,000/kg for lighter payloads. This stagnation stemmed from factors such as reliance on existing launch systems, diminished launch frequency, stringent reliability criteria for human spaceflight, and a culture of government-funded expenditures. The final verdict: There was scant innovation or economic incentive for innovation. 

Then came SpaceX, which spearheaded reduced launch costs with the Falcon 9 in 2010 ($2,500/kg) and Falcon Heavy in 2018 ($1,500/kg), figures 30 times below NASA’s Space Shuttle in 1981 and 11 times beneath average launch costs from 1970 to 2010, as per Citi’s data. 

Launch expenses are now tracking the trajectory akin to that of microprocessors, getting more efficient and rapid at an accelerating pace. And, much like microprocessors, the outcomes will be extraordinary. 

We often view voyages to the moon or Mars as essentially discretionary outlays fulfilling the aspirations of affluent nations. Nonetheless, the potential resources available to humans outside the confines of Earth far exceed anything conceivable within our planet, and they are all merely waiting to be tapped into. Soon enough, it will resemble the gold rush, though significantly more beneficial for humanity, as gold has its limitations. 

We are merely at the onset of a revolution, and it commenced—visibly, at least—merely 9 years ago. Momentum has barely commenced to amass. 

In a report earlier this year, consulting firm Bain foresaw Starship reducing the cost per kilogram to low Earth orbit (LEO) by 50 to 80 times:

This signifies the commercialization of space launches, exerting significant pressure on existing launch providers and aspiring contenders yet to successfully enter the market. It will also enable a plethora of business propositions for companies eager to provide services in space—ranging from communication and remote sensing satellite enterprises to commercial space stations, in-orbit manufacturing, and asteroid mining endeavors.

Asteroid mining may not become a reality tomorrow, or perhaps even within this century, but life will witness a transformation when it materializes. At present prices, a solitary asteroid could hold trillions of dollars in raw materials. 

However, when we finally engage in asteroid mining, prices for currently exorbitant entities will plummet drastically. The initial phase may be challenging, but it is inevitably approaching, all thanks to Elon Musk. 

Without a doubt. Progress had stagnated for an extended period. Musk fashioned this new sector from a highly risky investment that nearly bankrupted him as most doubted his capability. 

Boeing failed to do so. 

Musk intends for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite operations to financially spearhead his Martian ambitions. How’s that endeavor faring? According to a recent assessment by JPMorgan, satellite Internet adoption is on the ascent, and conventional wireless communication entities may be underestimating its potential. With bandwidth expenses plummeting by up to 90% and capacity elevating roughly 100 times, satellite Internet could emerge as a disruptive force in numerous developing markets. Starlink, boasting an expanding satellite constellation and impressive download speeds, has already garnered 2 million subscribers and claims to have attained financial equilibrium. The analysis states, “Resistance is futile.”

No other entity could accomplish this feat. I assert this with confidence, given that counterparts with comparable or superior resources have faltered and been surpassed by Musk and his ensemble. The US government scarcely launches missions sans Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which caters for about 80% and increasing portion of the payload dispatched into space. 

Globally. 

In 2024, SpaceX is predicted to account for approximately 90% of all payload sent into space. China is expected to handle about half of the remaining share, leaving the rest of the world to make up the difference. 

During the 1990s, prognostications about how the Internet would alter the world were widespread, sparking a fair amount of skepticism during that time. AOL was decent and all, but truly transformative? 

Well, indeed, it was. For better or worse, information holds paramount significance today. 

Accessible space travel will echo that sentiment. All accolades go to Elon Musk.