Who is Elon Musk?

Last updated at 06:51
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The story of how Elon Musk became so successful

He's the billionaire businessman who inspired Robert Downey, Jr's version of Tony Stark!

But how did Elon Musk become so successful?

Before his company Space X sent cars and astronauts into space on board the world's most powerful rocket ship, Elon Musk had a quieter start to life.

Born in South Africa, the young Elon had a tough time growing up and was bullied. But that didn't stop him from dreaming of success.


As a boy Elon was a keen reader and learnt how to code computers. He even made his own video game called Blastar.

Later he moved to Canada and then the United States setting up his first company with his brother Kimbal in 1995 which he later sold to create a company called X.com.

X.com became PayPal, a website that allows you to pay for things online which is used by adults all over the world.

Elon Musk sold PayPal for $1.5billion, and received personally received $165million from its sale.

Space X

With that $165million Elon Musk looked to the stars and created another new company called Space X. It's long term plan was to help people live on other planets.

"You want to do projects that are inspiring and that make people excited about the future," Musk says.

"Life's got to be more than just solving problems. You want to get up in the morning and say, 'yes I'm looking forward to that thing happening!'

Elon Musk has also turned his attention to renewable energy, a solution to harmful emissions that are bad for the environment.

In 2004 he helped set up the electric car company Tesla. In the 16 years that have followed the company has had major ups and downs, losing billions of dollars.

But in 2020, Tesla's value is more than $500bn, making Elon Musk the world's second-richest person with a $128bn (£97bn) fortune.

The Future
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WATCH: Yusaku Maezawa to be first tourist to the Moon

As for the future, Elon Musk and SpaceX plans to send the humans to the Moon for the first time 50 years.

Meanwhile, the company plans to send billionaire passenger Yusaku Maezawa around the Moon in 2023.

But Elon Musk's ultimate aim is to enable humans to land on Mars. Something he hopes to achieve within the next decade.

However Elon Musk hasn't always been talked about for the right reasons. Here are eight times he's made the news.

Eight times Elon Musk made the news
1. Thai cave rescue
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WATCH: Find out how the boys got stuck in the cave

In 2018 Twelve boys and their football coach became trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand

They were trapped there for more than two weeks, Elon Musk had offered to use technology developed by his companies to help with the crisis.

Mr Musk sent Tesla engineers and a small submarine to help free the boys during the Thai rescue effort - but it was never used.

He later made nasty comments about one of the eventual rescuers, British diver Vernon Unsworth.

Mr Unsworth said that comments Mr Musk made were "very hurtful".

2. Super-fast tunnel
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High speed tunnel shown off by Elon Musk's Boring Company

Elon Musk set up another company called the Boring Company which has the aim of making it easier and faster to travel between big cities.

One of the methods would involve cars being lowered into a tunnel where they would run on tracks, travelling at speeds of 150mph.

3. Self-landing rockets
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SpaceX launches Falcon Heavy and lands all three rocket boosters for the first time. Pictures: SpaceX

Not only has Space X created the world's most powerful rocket ship, it made history in 2019.

The Falcon Heavy took off, delivered a satellite into space and then, incredibly, landed all three of its booster rockets back to Earth.

4. Car in space
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Space X's Starman heads into space

As part of the Falcon Heavy's test flights, Space X sent a car made by Elon Musk's other company, Tesla into space.

Inside the car was a mannequin dressed in a space suit. He became known as Starman who is now on a journey around the Solar System.

5. Even more space missions
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SpaceX: Resilience takes four astronauts to ISS

The successful test flights mean that Space X is now flying Nasa astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

Using a commercial company like Space X has cut the cost of space travel and makes missions cheaper for Nasa.

There are now plans to use a commercial company to send humans back to the Moon in the next few years.

6. Smashing a new car window
tesla-cybertruck.Getty Images
This isn't how the Cybertruck is supposed to look!

When Elon Musk revealed Tesla's brand new electric Cybertruck, things didn't go quite to plan...

Musk said the car, inspired by the James Bond movies, had shatterproof windows, made out of something called armoured glass, which is meant to be a lot stronger than the usual material that's used.

However, when he challenged a colleague to smash the door with a sledgehammer, expecting it wouldn't break - it did, oops!

7. Baby X Æ A-Xii

Elon Musk is in a relationship with singer Grimes.

They caused quite the stir in May 2020 after revealing the name of their first child.

The couple shared that they'd named their baby X Æ A-12 on social media, leaving lots of people very confused about how to pronounce the choice of name.

However, when it comes to the American state of California's rules regarding names, they can only be officially registered if they use any of the 26 letters of the English alphabet, hyphens and apostrophes. Numbers can't be included.

But, the couple came up with a clever way to get around the rules. Swapping out the number 12 for roman numerals Xii and the roman symbol for 10 which is X.

8. Did aliens build the pyramids?
UFO-Pyramids-Elon-Musk.Getty Images/BBC

Egypt invited Elon Musk to visit its pyramids in August 2020 - after the billionaire said aliens built the landmarks.

In what was probably a joke tweet, Space X boss Musk said: "Aliens built the pyramids obv".

But Egypt's Minister of International Co-operation, Rania al-Mashat, replied saying: "I follow your work with a lot of admiration, I invite you & Space X to explore the writings about how the pyramids were built and also to check out the tombs of the pyramid builders. Mr. Musk, we are waiting for you."

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