How Did Space Travel Go Commercial? HBO Series Set to Explore the Real Story

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Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, speaks during a news conference after the SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1 launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, speaks during a news conference after the SpaceX Falcon 9 Demo-1 launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Ever wonder how space exploration stopped being a great national mission and became just another commercial enterprise? HBO will make a new limited series about billionaire Elon Musk and his controversial company SpaceX and how we made that transition is sure to be a focus of the show.

Musk is the Canadian-South African tech entrepreneur who hit the big time with his share in PayPal. He founded SpaceX in 2002, but has enjoyed his greatest business fame as CEO of electric car company, Tesla. He has a portfolio of other cutting edge companies involved in artificial intelligence, brain/computer interfaces and alternative transportation.

SpaceX got a contract with NASA in 2006 to demonstrate its cargo resupply skills for the International Space Station. Its rockets didn’t blow up and the company has steadily expanded its role in the United States space program.

SpaceX became the first private company to launch a human into space on May 30, 2020 for a mission to the ISS. It was the first astronaut launch from American soil since the end of the shuttle program in 2011.

The six-episode HBO series will be based on the incredibly popular book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance, most notable for revealing Musk’s lifelong obsession with making humankind a multi-planetary species.

The show will be executive produced by actor Channing Tatum through his Free Association company and Doug Jung (screenwriter of “Star Trek Beyond” and “The Cloverfield Paradox”) is set to write the show.

The business press estimates that Musk is worth close to $100 billion. He’s recently fathered a son with the Canadian singer-songwriter Claire Boucher, who performs her futuristic pop under the stage name Grimes. Their kid is named X Æ A-Xii (not a typo and pronounced “X Ash A Twelve”).

“Star Trek” fans know this debate: Should space exploration be a collective endeavor undertaken for the good of the planet or can it be effectively managed by individuals with a profit motive?

Like Musk, book author Vance is a South African who’s also adopted the USA as his home. Musk cooperated with the book and didn’t have approval of the finished biography, but the net result is an overwhelmingly positive work that touts Musk’s vision. Don’t expect him to be a classic HBO antihero on this show.

There’s not yet an announcement on production, so look for this show to air sometime in 2022.

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