To Deep Space and Back With Elon Musk

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Dragon landed in the Pacific on Thursday morning. Not the mythical creature—but rocket man Elon Musk’s now-famous cargo capsule. After a historic nine-day journey to the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule splashed down about 560 miles west of Baja California. In doing so, the unmanned space capsule became the first privately built and operated vehicle to dock to an orbiting outpost, while SpaceX became the first private company to embark on such a mission. The coup represents incredible success for SpaceX and Musk, the Hawthorne-based company’s founder and chief executive. More importantly, Dragon’s return proves that private companies can take on the task of hauling cargo into (and out of) space. Surely Musk won’t stop there. Next on his radar: sending astronauts to the outpost—and maybe to Mars. Musk first appeared in Los Angeles magazine nearly five years ago, when M.G. Lord profiled the entrepreneur and his ambitious company in her feature, “Rocket Man.” Who knew the future was so near?