Elon Musk is the chairman, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Motors, where he has overseen product development and design from the beginning, including the all-electric Tesla Roadster and Model S sedan. Electric vehicles have been one of his central interests for almost two decades, stemming from his time as a physics student working on energy storage technologies.
Elon's other primary activity is serving as CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), which develops rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and beyond. In 2006, SpaceX won the NASA contract to design, build, and demonstrate operation of a commercial replacement for the Space Shuttle, which retires in 2010. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately developed liquid fuel rocket to reach orbit.
In addition, Elon is the chairman and principal shareholder of SolarCity, the leading provider of solar power systems in California (as measured by number of installations performed in 2008).
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, Elon co-founded Zip2, a provider of Internet software to the media industry.
In 2007, Elon was recognized for his work as the recipient of R&D magazine's "Innovator of the Year" award, as well as by Inc. magazine as "Entrepreneur of the Year." He received the 2007/2008 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics award for the greatest contribution to the field of space transportation.