SpaceX: Entrepreneur's race to space

From PayPal to electric cars to rockets, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk wants his company, SpaceX, to build America's next manned spacecraft. Scott Pelley reports.

Elon Musk: Yes. Yes.

Scott Pelley: Capture the imagination.

Elon Musk: Yes. That was the idea.

Turns out the Dneiper was so expensive his idea never flew. So, Musk decided that the only way to get an affordable rocket was to build it himself. And he started SpaceX.

Elon Musk: The odds of me coming into the rocket business, not knowing anything about rockets, not having ever built anything, I mean, I would have to be insane if I thought the odds are in my favor.

Scott Pelley: Why even begin?

Elon Musk: When something is important enough you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

Scott Pelley: How much of your personal fortune have you poured into this?

Elon Musk: $100 million.

Scott Pelley: And $100 million into something that you did not believe would work at the beginning?

Elon Musk: Yes.

Musk truly believes - that low-cost space exploration is essential to the survival of mankind.

Elon Musk: I think it's important that humanity become a multi-planet species. I think most people would agree that a future where we are a space-faring civilization is inspiring and exciting compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event. That's really why I started SpaceX.

SpaceX is housed in a sprawling factory near Los Angeles where fuselages for Boeing 747s used to be built. From its beginning -- 10 years ago -- its goal has been revolutionary change in rocket and spacecraft manufacturing.

Scott Pelley: Now tell me what's that big piece right up there?

Elon Musk: That's the second stage of a Falcon Nine rocket.

Instead of multiple companies building parts all across the country, SpaceX builds most of its rockets and spacecraft "in-house" - based on Musk's belief that it's more efficient and lowers costs. Fourteen-hundred engineers and skilled technicians work here --building engines, rockets, space capsules - creating, mostly from scratch, the thousands of components that are the guts of a rocket.

Elon Musk: So what that means is raw metal comes in and then we build the engines, the frame, the electronics and we integrate all of that together and that's all done more or less under one roof.

Scott Pelley: At SpaceX, metal comes in one end of this factory, spaceships come out the other?

Elon Musk: Yes.

Final assembly takes place at the Cape Canaveral launch pad.

[Elon Musk: If the margin is there and we don't have margin to the fourth power, then it's fine.]

Musk has college degrees in business and physics, but SpaceX is his first venture in aerospace. He bills himself as chief designer and chief technology officer.