Elon Musk and his social media debacles in 2018

WION Web Team
New York, NY, USAUpdated: Dec 27, 2018, 11:55 AM IST

SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks on a screen during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain Photograph:(AFP)

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Musk likes to surprise, shock and stay in the news.

Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla, SpaceX and PayPal has many plans.

Musk said in May this year that SpaceX would launch more orbital missions in 2018 than any nation on earth.

While his rocket company couldn't achieve that as China launched at least 35 rockets, Musk launched the Falcon heavy rocket, the world's most powerful operational launch vehicle which sent ripples through the industry. The rocket carried a spacesuit-clad dummy called Starman towards Mars orbit inside a red Tesla Roadster car.

But Musk likes to surprise, shock and stay in the news.

Earlier this year, he shocked the world by calling one of the Thai cave rescuers a paedophile. The tweet led Musk being slapped with a lawsuit. In August, he tweeted that he was taking Tesla private and that he had secured funds to do the same. But soon, it became clear that Musk had neither secured the funding nor had the regulatory approvals for it.

A month later, the Securities and Exchange Commission of US filed a lawsuit against him, leading Musk to pay a fine of $20 million and losing the chairmanship to his company. Musk's compulsive tweeting and erratic behaviour, which included smoking marijuana during a video interview, has raised concerns about his leadership, with several Wall Street analysts and some investors urging Tesla to appoint a strong second-in-command.

Then, in an interview with 60 Minutes recently, Musk said he does not respect the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But despite Musk's frequent firing sprees and difficult relationship with his employees, production delays and social media debacles, Tesla has managed to become a success story. Musk shut his critics when Tesla reported a net profit, positive cash flow and wider-than-expected margins in the third quarter, delivering on his promise to turn the electric carmaker profitable as higher production volumes of its new Model 3 began to pay off.

By the end of the year, Musk, despite his controversies, launched the SmallSat Express mission. With this single launch, SpaceX delivered 64 small satellites into orbit. Three of those satellites will track covert shipping, fishing, piracy, and other illegal activities on the ocean from space.

The mission, dubbed SSO-A, also marked the third voyage to space for the same Falcon 9 rocket - another milestone for SpaceX's cost-cutting reusable rocket technology.

And now, he has his eyes set on exploring the depths of space. He recently said that the next goal in space exploration is colonising "heavenly bodies" such as the Moon or "Mars and beyond".