Most Innovative Companies


SpaceX is the innovative and ambitious private aerospace manufacturer founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. In 2017, the company boldly went where no aerospace startup has gone before, posting 18 successful launches—twice as many as in the previous year—on behalf of companies in five countries, as well as the Air Force, NASA, and the top-secret U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. SpaceX delivered 48 satellites into orbit and 22,700 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station, and now holds more than 60% of the global share of commercial launch contracts. But SpaceX truly earned its place among the aeronautical elite—and changed the economics of space flight­—by making its reusable rocket system seemingly as reliable as the sunrise: Throughout the year, it landed eight rockets on ocean-based drone platforms and sent three refurbished ones right back into the skies. The company’s 46-year-old founder and CEO, Elon Musk, even made progress on his plan to colonize Mars and save humanity from "some eventual extinction event."

2017: Space
2016: Space
2015: Space
2014: Space
public or private: Private
staff: 4,000+
headquarters: Hawthorne, CA
Competition: Blue Origin