SpaceX Has Quietly Opened a New Office to Work on Internet-Providing Satellites

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by The Wrong Guy, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    SpaceX Has Quietly Opened a New Office to Work on Internet-Providing Satellites | Motherboard

    SpaceX's new, Seattle-area satellite design office has quietly opened, and, presumably, early work has begun on Elon Musk's planned array of satellites that will be able to provide WiFi internet to any spot on Earth.

    In January, Musk announced the plan to launch as many as 4,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit. These satellites will form a communications constellation capable of providing fiber-like speeds to customers all over the world, which may allow the company to undercut current broadband prices.

    SpaceX Redmond may one day house as many as 1,000 engineers and aerospace experts, but today it's got about 60 people working there, according to Washington state government officials.

    "There are people in there working—they haven't had an official grand opening or anything, but they've had people there for months," Alex Pietsch, director of Washington's Department of Commerce Office of Aerospace, told me. "They have 60 people here to begin with, but they may be growing to as many as 1,000."

    SpaceX did not respond to several requests for comment from Motherboard, but local Seattle publications have also said the company's office is open.

    Pietsch was among those invited to Musk's original announcement back in January. He said he's not sure whether the satellites will actually be manufactured in Redmond or whether they will just be engineered and designed there.

    "There's people here working on other SpaceX programs besides the satellites," he said.

    Redmond is home to Microsoft and Amazon and also houses engineering offices for Google, Apple, Twitter, Alibaba, and Facebook. SpaceX is the newest company to move in, but he says that, already, the company has made quite a buzz. SpaceX did not receive any tax incentives from the state to open the office there.

    "SpaceX brings us a notoriety and high profile brand that's really opening people's eyes around the country. They're looking at us as an emerging space hub," he said.

    Pietsch said in the past, Facebook specifically opened an office in the city because potential hires didn't want to leave for Silicon Valley, and he suspects SpaceX may have done the same.

    "They've had trouble recruiting talent from the Seattle area and getting them to move to Hawthorne, [California]," he said. "That's how Facebook now has 400 people here—their office started because they wanted two people from Microsoft who refused to move to the Bay. Now, it's their second largest engineering office."

    Already, it appears as though SpaceX has poached some local talent from its competitors. According to a LinkedIn search, SpaceX has hired several engineers away from Microsoft, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Boeing.

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  2. The Wrong Guy Member

    SpaceX adds a big new lab to its satellite development operation in Seattle area

    By Alan Boyle, GeekWire


    SpaceX has taken on a 40,625-square-foot facility in Redmond, Wash., that will become a research and development lab for its ambitious satellite operation.

    The warehouse-style space in the Redmond Ridge Corporate Center, owned by M&T Partners, is slated for a $2.1 million interior remodeling job, according to a permit application filed last month with King County.

    SpaceX is already using a 30,000-square-foot office building that’s about a 10-minute drive away in Redmond.

    Setting up the lab, and hiring the engineers who will work there, marks a significant ramp-up for SpaceX’s presence in the Seattle area’s Eastside region. The California-based company’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, established the Redmond operation in 2015 to develop satellites that would provide global internet access.

    Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the 4,425-satellite constellation is one of the keys to SpaceX’s long-term business plan – and Musk himself has said satellite revenues would fund his vision of sending thousands of settlers to Mars.

    When Musk unveiled the plan in Seattle, two years ago, he said the satellite engineering operation could eventually employ “maybe 1,000 people.” The company’s total employment is in the range of 5,000.

    SpaceX hasn’t publicized how many people are now working in Redmond, but the company is listing more than 60 open positions there, including spots for hardware and software engineers, satellite system engineers, designers and project managers.

    Last November, SpaceX laid out the details for the satellite constellation in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. Previously announced schedules have called for the first wave of satellites to be deployed in the 2018-2020 time frame.

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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    The odd and slightly troubling thing Elon Musk and L. Ron Hubbard have in common

    By Tony Ortega, February 1, 2017


    We don’t keep a very watchful eye on Elon Musk and what he’s up to, so forgive us that we missed an interesting little news item about him last year which, once we were made aware of it, sort of knocked us for a loop.

    Musk is the PayPal and Tesla Motors and SpaceX inventor, one of the richest people in the world, and he has legions of fans who follow his every move. So it was only natural that a Bloomberg reporter would take the opportunity at a press conference last summer to ask the avid reader what he was digging into recently. Musk gave an interesting answer, saying that he was enjoying an obscure 1929 book named Twelve Against the Gods.

    The book was written by a South African journalist named William Bolitho (1891-1930), and it consists of twelve short biographies of people who had battled the gods to greatness, as it were. Long out of print, copies of the book could be found for about $6 at sites like eBay. But once Musk revealed that he was reading it, prices shot up and it quickly became hard to find a copy. Checking yesterday, we couldn’t find a copy at eBay for less than $250.

    It made for a fun story that a number of different news organizations covered last summer, marveling that Musk had plucked from obscurity a book that almost no one had heard of.

    No one, that is, except for Scientologists.

    As soon as we saw the title, we remembered that Jon Atack has mentioned Twelve Against the Gods a couple of times here at the Underground Bunker. So we emailed Jon this week to ask him his thoughts on Elon Musk making a fad out of the book he told us was L. Ron Hubbard’s favorite.


    We couldn’t find a story that explained how Musk had stumbled across Twelve Against the Gods. And as far as we know, the South African-born inventor isn’t mixed up with Scientology. Maybe the common country of origin was enough to bring Bolitho to his attention.

    As for what Musk sees in the book, we’ll point out that Elon Musk is an adventurer in a way that Hubbard only pretended to be. Hubbard talked a big game — he was a world-class tall-tale teller, there is no doubt — but he was mostly all talk and many of his claims about his adventures turned out to be exaggerations. Musk, on the other hand, really is disrupting the automobile and space industries and heck, we want some of those solar power shingles he was showing off the other day.

    If Musk sees himself in the company of Alexander and Napoleon, well, he may actually have a point. He wants to start cities on Mars, and if that’s not battling against the gods, we don’t know what is. But Hubbard in the same list of names? Pshaw! As if.

    More at
  4. Is it so implausible that a guy born and raised in S.A. with a lifelong interest in disruptive ideas and personalities might somehow have stumbled upon an obscure book by an S.A. journalist covering that same subject?

    Nah, gotta be OSA.

    TonyO, I am disappoint.
  5. The Wrong Guy Member

    SEC hits Elon Musk with fraud suit, demands ouster from Tesla | POLITICO


    The SEC filed a securities fraud lawsuit against Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Thursday, in a major blow to one of Silicon Valley's most prominent and controversial figures.

    In a filing in federal court in Manhattan, prosecutors allege that Musk made a “series of false and misleading statements” on Twitter last month that he had secured funding to take the company private. The suit alleges Musk made the claim despite the fact that he “had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source.”

    Tesla shares spiked when Musk tweeted on Aug. 7: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured." It was one of several tweets that day highlighted by the SEC.

    The SEC wants Musk to return “any ill-gotten gains” he received as a result of the remarks, pay a civil fine, and be barred from serving as an officer or director in any publicly traded company, which would in effect require his removal as Tesla CEO.

    The legal action deals a stunning setback for one of Silicon Valley’s most recognizable figures, whose companies have disrupted the automotive, solar power and space industries, but who in recent weeks has been mired in controversy over his erratic public statements and behavior.

    In a statement, Musk said, "This unjustified action by the SEC leaves me deeply saddened and disappointed."

    He added, "Integrity is the most important value in my life and the facts will show I never compromised this in any way.”

    Musk's other legal troubles include a recent lawsuit by a Thai cave rescue volunteer who sued the Tesla CEO for defamation after Musk called him a pedophile and a child rapist on Twitter. Earlier this month, the tech mogul brandished whiskey and puffed a joint of marijuana during a highly publicized podcast interview. The controversies have swirled as Tesla struggled to meet production targets for its newest electric car.

    At the same time, Musk's companies have pulled off some stunning technological stunts, such as launching a Tesla roadster into space.

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  6. The Wrong Guy Member

    Elon Musk's $420 Share Price for Taking Tesla Private? That Was About Weed — And Impressing His Girlfriend | Fortune

    "It turns out that the price Elon Musk came up with to take Tesla Inc. (tsla, -13.84%) private really was about weed, and that the embattled chief executive officer tweeted the figure to impress his girlfriend, the rapper Grimes."

    Elon Musk Will Pay $20 Million To The SEC And Resign As Chair Of Tesla | BuzzFeed News


    Tesla CEO Elon Musk has agreed to pay a $20 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission and to relinquish his role as chair of the company’s board of directors as part of a settlement with the federal agency.

    The agreement, filed in court Saturday, comes just two days after the SEC sued Musk for making “false and misleading statements” on Twitter about the possibility of taking Tesla, a publicly traded company, private.

    The SEC has also imposed a $20 million fine on Tesla itself, which will be expected to appoint two new independent directors to the board, for “failing to have required disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets,” the agency said. The company will also be required to put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk’s communications.

    Musk and Tesla agreed to settle the charges without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, regulators said. The combined $40 million in penalties will be distributed among affected investors under a court-approved process.

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