SpaceX may be the face of the private space industry now, but it wasn’t always that way. In the 16 years since its founding, the company went from curious newcomer to leading the sector. And the reason? It’s made a business out of building and launching affordable, reusable rockets, attracting clients like NASA who use SpaceX rockets to get their devices into space. Elon Musk may be the company’s founder and CEO, but Gwynne Shotwell has been the company’s chief operating officer for over a decade and is the person running the company day to day. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal took a tour with Shotwell of SpaceX’s flagship manufacturing facility, where they talked about the state of the commercial space industry, what it’s like to run a rocket company and the plan to put people on Mars within 10 years.
Editor’s note (Dec. 12, 2018): The headline has been updated.