SpaceX's wild ride to the first commercial space taxi launch started with a dream of Mars and lots of failures.

In late May, the California company will try to send two astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA. It's a milestone in the effort to commercialize space, which once was the exclusive play place of governments.

While SpaceX builds and launches rockets, it really stems from eccentric founder Elon Musk's dream to go to Mars. Three initial failed launches threatened to put SpaceX out of business except NASA stuck with the startup and now it's getting a lift itself.