As CEO and Chief Designer, Elon oversees development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit. In 2008, SpaceX won a NASA contract to use its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to commercially provide the cargo transport function of the space shuttle, which was retired in 2011. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company to successfully recover a spacecraft from Earth orbit with its Dragon spacecraft. And in 2012, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle to successfully attach to the International Space Station and return cargo to Earth.
Prior to SpaceX, Elon cofounded PayPal, the world's leading Internet payment system, and served as the company's Chairman and CEO. Before PayPal, Elon cofounded Zip2, a provider of Internet software to the media industry.
He has a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in business from the Wharton School.
As President and COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell is responsible for day-to-day operations and for managing all customer and strategic relations to support company growth. She joined SpaceX in 2002 as Vice President of Business Development and built the Falcon vehicle family manifest to nearly 50 launches, representing nearly $5 billion in revenue.
Prior to joining SpaceX, Gwynne spent more than 10 years at the Aerospace Corporation where she held positions in Space Systems Engineering & Technology as well as Project Management. Gwynne was subsequently recruited to be Director of Microcosm’s Space Systems Division, where she served on the executive committee and directed corporate business development.
Gwynne participates in a variety of STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-related programs, including the Frank J. Redd Student Scholarship Competition. Under her leadership the committee raised more than $350,000 in scholarships in 6 years.
Gwynne received, with honors, a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics from Northwestern University.