During the eight years Barack Obama occupied the White House, Elon Musk assembled a sprawling industrial empire focused on what might be called politically-correct technologies. Now, the imminent arrival of the Trump era is casting doubt on whether Musk’s business model will hold up. SpaceX, for instance, could not be in business without the $6 billion in contracts it has received from NASA and the defense department, but the company is running an average of 26 months late on each of its government launch missions. It has also lost two rockets and their payloads in less than two years, compared with no losses at all in ten years for its main U.S. competitor. And now a NASA advisory panel is criticizing SpaceX’s plan to fuel astronaut missions for NASA while crews are already on the rocket, calling it dangerous. So raising money for Hillary Clinton and criticizing President-elect Trump’s bid for the presidency right up to the eve of election day looks like a non-optimal strategy for a businessman who is so dependent on government largesse. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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