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Satellite veterans go from SpaceX to Amazon

SpaceX Starlink satellites
SpaceX’s two prototype Starlink satellites are seen on either side of their carrier in advance of last year’s launch. (SpaceX via YouTube)

The leadership team for Amazon’s newly revealed broadband satellite constellation, code-named Project Kuiper, includes engineers who left SpaceX’s Starlink constellation program last year as part of a reorganization, industry sources say.

The personnel shift, first reported today by CNBC, illustrates how interconnected and competitive the satellite mega-constellation business is turning out to be.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the sources said the engineers include Rajeev Badyal, who was the SpaceX vice president in charge of the Starlink program before the reorganization; and Mark Krebs, a veteran of Google’s aerospace efforts who played a key role in developing the first two prototype Starlink satellites for SpaceX.

Both of those engineers were identified as casualties of last year’s Starlink reorganization, which was said to involve a trip by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to the company’s satellite development facility in Redmond, Wash., to fire at least seven senior managers.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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