Lesson one: entreprepreneurship is risky, and often fails. Lesson two: when an entreprepreneur’s rocket is destroyed, his $100 million goes up in smoke; when NASA’s rocket is destroyed, your $100 million goes up in smoke.
Government and industry efforts to develop innovative, less costly rockets suffered a high-profile setback Friday, when the initial flight of a satellite launcher bankrolled by outspoken entrepreneur Elon Musk ended in failure.
After Mr. Musk spent nearly four years and well over $100 million of his personal fortune to create a rocket company from scratch, his Falcon project became the best-known and most aggressive entrant in the fledgling small-rocket segment. But according to preliminary assessments, a fuel leak and resulting fire during last week’s inaugural launch shut down the main engines less than 30 seconds after blastoff from a Pacific atoll. The rocket and a research satellite built by Air Force Academy students were destroyed.
For the full story, see:
Pasztor, Andy. "Entrepreneur’s Rocket Suffers Setback During Maiden Launch." Wall Street Journal (Monday, March 27, 2006): A14.