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Musk was ousted in October 2000 from his role as CEO (although he remained on the board) due to disagreements with other company leadership, notably over his desire to move Pay Pal's Unix-based infrastructure to Microsoft Windows.

In 2001, Musk conceptualized "Mars Oasis"; a project to land a miniature experimental greenhouse on Mars, containing food crops growing on Martian regolith, in an attempt to regain public interest in space exploration.

Space X intends to launch a Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon Heavy in 2018 to soft-land on Mars – this is intended to be the first of a regular cargo mission supply-run to Mars building up to later crewed flights.

Musk stated in June 2016 that the first unmanned flight of the larger Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) spacecraft is aimed for departure to the red planet in 2022, to be followed by the first manned MCT Mars flight departing in 2024.

The group met again with Kosmotras, and were offered one rocket for , however, this was seen by Musk as too expensive; Musk consequently stormed out of the meeting.

On the flight back from Moscow, Musk realized that he could start a company that could build the affordable rockets he needed.

Tesla began delivery of its four-door Model S sedan on June 22, 2012.

It was concluded that theoretically, by applying vertical integration and the modular approach from software engineering, Space X could cut launch price by a factor of ten and still enjoy a 70-percent gross margin.

The company's first two launch vehicles are the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets (a nod to Star Wars' Millennium Falcon), and its first spacecraft is the Dragon (a nod to Puff the Magic Dragon).

In seven years, Space X designed the family of Falcon launch vehicles and the Dragon multipurpose spacecraft.

In February 2002, the group returned to Russia to look for three ICBMs, bringing along Mike Griffin.

Griffin had worked for the CIA's venture capital arm, In-Q-Tel, as well as NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and was just leaving Orbital Sciences, a maker of satellites and spacecraft.