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Tesla/SpaceX/PayPal Founder Elon Musk To Members Of Congress: American Innovation Is Out Of This World!

By Daniel Swartz on February 11, 2011
Be sure to check out all 110 of our photographs from this event HERE!

NORTHWEST -- With a sea of shiny roadsters lined-up around the city block housing the electric vehicle company’s latest showroom, California-based Tesla Motors blasted-off into the District Thursday evening, with a guest-list only cocktail reception hosted by entrepreneur Elon Musk attended by several prominent members of Congress and the Obama administration.

Musk, the South African born engineer who made his fortune through a variety of different Internet businesses that he started in the ‘90s (Zip2 was sold to AltaVista for $341 million and PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion), is now the CEO of both Tesla and space transport company SpaceX, which recently achieved a historic milestone in launching the first commercial space capsule to successfully orbit the Earth and return safely.

And last night’s event served as a true celebration of American innovation in showcasing both Tesla and SpaceX’s technology together for the very first time, with Brian Liu (aka DJ Yellow Fever) providing the background beats that kept the crowd energized.

In addition to several versions of its sleek Tesla Roadster (0-60mph in 3.7 seconds), the car manufacturer had a prototype of its upcoming Model S four-door sedan on display.

However, the real crowd-pleaser was decidedly SpaceX’s Dragon 9 space capsule, which twice circled the Earth and splashed-down in the Pacific just a few weeks ago -- rocket scorch marks, photography restrictions and all!

Designed as a possible commercial alternative to the now defunct shuttle program, the Dragon spacecraft is intended to serve as a low-cost (relatively speaking), reusable vehicle and is being developed by SpaceX under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services initiative.

With both SpaceX and Tesla exemplifying some of the most innovative, homegrown space and automotive technologies in the marketplace today, it was only natural that several members of Congress and the Obama administration were in attendance last night.

Joining Musk on-stage during the event were Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD), and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Also milling about the room, speaking with constituents and engineers alike, were Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.

“Both [SpaceX and Tesla] are good examples of public/private partnerships….and I hope you leave here tonight feeling really good about where the country’s headed,” said Musk. “There are a lot of reasons to feel very optimistic!”

Apparently, the sky isn’t the limit….

Be sure to check out all 110 of our photographs from this event HERE!

Tags:Tesla Motors (Washington, D.C.)
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