Two VPs leave Elon Musk’s SpaceX leadership shaken

Read Time:2 Minute, 32 Second


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft were launched on November 9, 2021 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on launch pad 39A.

Joe Riddle | Getty Images

CNBC was informed that the leadership of SpaceX’s rocket business has been shaken, and two vice presidents have parted ways with the company.

Elon Musk’s aerospace company is now America’s leading rocket manufacturer, owning the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. The company has also invested heavily in the development of the next generation of interstellar spacecraft rockets.

Several people familiar with the situation told CNBC that Will Heltsley, SpaceX’s vice president of advancement, has resigned and has been working for the company since 2009. These people said that Heltsley was cancelled due to lack of progress and development of the Raptor engine. The Raptor engine powers SpaceX’s interstellar spacecraft rockets and super-heavy boosters.

Heltsley’s departure shows the tremendous pressure facing engine development, as it plays a key role in Starship’s success. The company has successfully conducted several test launches and flights with the Raptor, and has steadily improved the engine. Musk recently stated that the second-generation Raptor engine “has significant improvements in all aspects.”

Musk said on Twitter: “But the engine that can really make life multi-planetary needs a comprehensive design overhaul. It will not be called a Raptor.” November 16.

According to sources, SpaceX’s Jacob McKenzie (Jacob McKenzie) has been with the company for more than six years and now leads the development and production of the Raptor engine.

Take a closer look at 29 Raptor engines under the base of Super Heavy Booster 4.

Space Exploration Technology Corporation

People familiar with the matter said that SpaceX’s vice president of mission and launch business Lee Rosen (Lee Rosen) and senior director of mission and launch business Ricky Lim had left last week. Rosen has been at SpaceX since 2013, and Lim joined the company in 2008.

SpaceX did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the leadership change.

After SpaceX closed the takeover offer on Friday, a small number of other long-term employees left. People familiar with the matter said that the time schedule was partly related to the employee’s stock vesting schedule. Although SpaceX did not raise new funds in the second sale, this round was completed at a price of $560 per share-raising the company’s valuation to $100.3 billion.

SpaceX ushered in a glorious year: the company successfully launched 25 Falcon 9 missions, put 12 astronauts into orbit with Dragon capsules, expanded Starlink satellite Internet services to approximately 140,000 users, and continued to operate Progress on Starship.

Musk said last week that SpaceX “hopes” to launch its first orbital interstellar spacecraft flight in January or February, which represents the next important milestone in the development of rockets. The launch is subject to regulatory approval and technical preparations from the Federal Aviation Administration.




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