The early years of SpaceX reveal a company that teetered on the edge of dying out, as Musk has said. After three unsuccessful attempts to reach orbit, his team scrounged together enough parts for a fourth rocket, and SpaceX made history with its Falcon 1 rocket.
While Musk provided the vision, his company was not an overnight success. Key people, such as employees like now President and COO Gwynne Shotwell and investors like the members of the Founders Fund, helped forge SpaceX into the business it is today. SpaceX has won billions of dollars in NASA and Air Force launch contracts. It also carries payloads for private companies.