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Quora精选:真人版钢铁侠Elon Musk火箭般成功的秘诀是什么 2014年12月03日 17:34:47

Q: How did Elon Musk learn enough about rockets to run SpaceX?

问:Elon Musk 究竟怎么学了那么多火箭知识来运营SpaceX这家公司的?

I know he has a Bachelor’s in Physics, but there’s a LOT more to it than that. How did he learn it all?


Answered by Erik Nordeus

Erik Nordeus的回答
(译注:Erik Nordeus为Elon Musk传记的作者)

From books

Before Elon Musk founded SpaceX, he and his friend Adeo Ressi wanted to send plants or rodents to Mars. To help them they contacted the aerospace consultant Jim Cantrell. The three of them traveled around the world to find the rockets needed. While they traveled around, Elon Musk borrowed Jim Cantrell’s books on rocket technology.


Elon Musk 创办SpaceX之前,他和朋友Adeo Ressi 希望把植物或者啮齿动物发送到火星去。他们找了航天咨询师Jim Cantrell帮忙。他们仨满世界跑去找能满足需求的火箭。在旅途中,Elon Musk问Jim Cantrell借了火箭技术相关的书。

“He’d been borrowing all my college textbooks on rocketry and propulsion. You know, whenever anybody asks Elon how he learned to build rockets, he says, ‘I read books.’ Well, it’s true.”


From school

“It is not like I [Elon Musk] ever worked for Boeing or Lockheed. But I do have an understanding of how things work in physics and engineering.”


“我(即Elon Musk本人)虽然没有在波音或者洛克希德干过一天活,但是我了解物理和工程学里的东西。”

From his employees

“I’d never seen anything like it,” an employee said. “He was the quickest learner I’ve ever come across. You had this guy who knew everything from a business point of view, but who was also clearly capable of knowing everything from a technical point of view – and the place he was creating was a blank sheet of paper.”



In total, it took Elon Musk two years to learn what he needed to know about rockets.

Elon Musk总共花了两年时间来学习所需的火箭知识。

“I [Elon Musk] know my rocket inside out and backward. I can tell you the heat treating temper of the skin material, where it changes, why we chose that material, the welding technique … down to the gnat’s ass.”

“我(Elon Musk) 对我自己的火箭里里外外彻头彻尾都很了解。我可以告诉你表面材料的热处理温度是多少,何处开始改变,还有我们为啥要选这个材料,或那个焊接工艺……等等各种细枝末节。

Answered by Jim Cantrell

Jim Cantrell的回答
(译注:Jim Cantrell是SpaceX的联合创始人,就是上一篇回答中借书给Elon Musk的航天咨询师)

I helped Elon start the company and all of these answers are spot on. He still has my book on rocket propulsion…..


What I found from working with Elon is that he starts by defining a goal and he puts a lot of effort into understanding what that goal is and why it is a good and valid goal. His goal, as I see it, has not changed form the day he first called me in August of 2001. I still hear it in his speeches. His goal was to make mankind a multi planetary species and to do that he had to first solve the transportation problem.


Once he has a goal, his next step is to learn as much about the topic at hand as possible from as many sources as possible. He is by far the single smartest person that I have ever worked with … period. I can’t estimate his IQ but he is very very intelligent. And not the typical egg head kind of smart. He has a real applied mind. He literally sucks the knowledge and experience out of people that he is around. He borrowed all of my college texts on rocket propulsion when we first started working together in 2001. We also hired as many of my colleagues in the rocket and spacecraft business that were willing to consult with him. It was like a gigantic spaceapalooza. At that point we were not talking about building a rocket ourselves, only launching a privately funded mission to Mars. I found out later that he was talking to a bunch of other people about rocket designs and collaborating on some spreadsheet level systems designs for launchers. Once our dealings with the Russians fell apart, he decided to build his own rocket and this was the genesis of SpaceX.


So I am going to suggest that he is successful not because his visions are grand, not because he is extraordinarily smart and not because he works incredibly hard. All of those things are true. The one major important distinction that sets him apart is his inabi


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