Two years ago, Elon Musk’s SpaceX received a $2.6 billion contract from NASA to develop commercial spaceflight and manned launch capabilities. After the 2011 conclusion of its Shuttle program, NASA looked to SpaceX and Boeing, two private companies, to return manned launches to American soil. This public-private partnership signaled the beginning of an exciting new time in space innovation and exploration.
After several years of decline, it seems that private companies like SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origins are now successfully reinvigorating the American space industry. As an aerospace enthusiast and industry consultant, these developments are tremendously exciting. As an entrepreneur and startup coach, they prompt me to consider the lessons that innovators can learn and apply from an examination of SpaceX’s success.