SpaceX reorganizes Starlink satellite operation

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sending the first two Starlink demonstration satellites into orbit. (SpaceX via YouTube)

SpaceX says it has reorganized its satellite development operation in Redmond, Wash., to accelerate design and testing of the elements for its planned satellite broadband constellation — and high-level departures were reportedly part of the shift.

Word of the reorg came in response to a Reuters report, quoting unnamed SpaceX employees as saying that CEO Elon Musk traveled to the Redmond facility in June to fire members of the satellite program’s senior management team.

Musk was reportedly unhappy with the pace of the testing program, which was highlighted by the launch of two demonstration satellites in February. The casualties were said to include the SpaceX vice president in charge of the satellite program, Rajeev Badyal, a veteran of Microsoft and Hewlett Packard; and satellite designer Mark Krebs, who led Google’s aircraft and spacecraft teams before coming to SpaceX.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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