Elon Musk in May 2007

Wired recently put out a special edition of the online (and print?) magazine called “Wired Icons”. It’s a look back through the 20 years of Wired’s history at 16 pioneers and leaders covered by the magazine. The entire thing is worth a read.

Of particular interest was the article on Elon Musk, which I’ve found on Wired’s website and linked to above. This article predates SpaceX’s successful test flights with Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, and the substantial resolve and resilience of the entire SpaceX team - led by Musk himself - is evident:

Except for Musk, none of these guys were rich. They’d all quit steady, safe jobs at places like Boeing and Lockheed and TRW. Finally Musk spoke, his voice soft, with a trace of Afrikaner lilt: “When we started, we all knew we could fail on the first mission,” he said. “But we will build another rocket and try again.”

The next morning, at low tide, 45 people in bathing suits walked the reefs around Omelek, picking up pieces. They eventually recovered 75 percent of the vehicle and laid out the parts nose-to-tail in the hangar. Two days later, when the core team piled into Musk’s Gulfstream for the flight back to California, they had every bit of the company’s video and telemetry data with them. “That,” Buzza recalls, “was day one of return-to-flight.”