International Order & Conflict

Chairman’s Forum: Elon Musk

in Program

a whole new world to think about the privatization of space, but Elon Musk has
done just that.  Musk took the stage at
Stimson yesterday, shortly after announcing the launch date for the
world’s largest rocket built by his company, SpaceX

Falcon Heavy launch vehicle will be the most capable vehicle of any kind on
Earth. It will put more than twice the payload capability of the space shuttle
into orbit, and has twice the thrust of the biggest Russian rocket, and biggest
rocket. It’s quite an epic vehicle.”

also covered a range of space sector and space security topics with Lincoln
Bloomfield, Jr., Stimson’s chairman of the board, for the sixth installment of his
series, the Chairman’s Forum.  Issues explored
during this lively discussion include:

  • Humans
    becoming a multi-planetary species: “Life becoming multi-planetary is at least
    as important as life going from the oceans to land. If there is something that
    is arguably as important as fitting on the scale of the evolution of life
    itself, it should be considered important and deserve some small portion of our
    resources to accomplish. Perhaps we can bound (this amount) quite easily by saying
    it should be much less than what we spend on healthcare, but more than what we
    spend on lipstick.”
  • The
    colonization of Mars versus the Moon: “The reason I favor Mars over the Moon is
    that Mars really has the potential for a true planet-class civilization,
    because it’s a planet. You have a very
    small habitable zone near the poles on the Moon. I consider the moon to be kind of analogous
    to the Arctic.
    The Arctic was very close to Europe but
    it (had sustainability challenges).
    That’s why America
    isn’t there.”
  • Protecting
    satellites: “We’re very supportive of national security goals as well as civil
    space and commercial goals. In terms of anti-satellite capabilities we need to
    pay closer attention to having defense systems on satellites, basically being
    able to dodge missiles. You can build ground-based anti-satellite missiles a
    lot faster than you can launch satellites.”
  • Long-range goals during a budgetary crisis — advice to Washington political
    leaders: “I
    think people should have some sense of perspective and realize that things are
    actually pretty great… and we all live really great lives in the U.S. We certainly need to decrease the amount of
    government spending… but we need to not sacrifice tomorrow for today.”

view the Chairman’s Forum with Elon Musk in its entirety, go to: or see below.


About the Chairman’s Forum:

Chairman’s Forum is a strategic conversation, featuring respected opinion
leaders in the foreign and security policy arena. Bloomfield holds these informal discussions
about eight times a year to address the most relevant global issues we face
today.  Past guests include Senator
Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Rep. Howard Berman (Calif.), and former Deputy Secretary of
State Richard Armitage.


About the Stimson

The Stimson
Center, a nonprofit
institution, has worked to combine research and analysis with a commitment to
fostering dialogue on improved, pragmatic, and nonpartisan policies. Stimson researches
a variety of issues that focus on reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction,
building regional security, and strengthening institutions for international
peace and security. 

Learn about our previous Chairman’s Forum guests here.


For more information about the Stimson Center
and its work, visit

To learn more about SpaceX, visit




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