Elon Musk Fires Staff Over Slow Satellite Broadband Progress

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And this week in Elon, we have Elon Musk going on a firing spree throughout Space X – according to Reuters, Musk flew in for a SpaceX meeting and subsequently fired seven senior leaders at the company’s Washington division in Redmond within hours of landing.

Some managers are rumored to have left of their own accord though, and not in the quick succession Reuters had previously reported but at the moment, none of the alleged former employees have come forward with a statement, so take the word ‘firing spree‘ with a grain of salt, for the time being.

To give you some background to the entire situation, SpaceX has managed to get approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellites as early as 2019 and all the way to 2027, in order to bring broadband to under-served areas.

Musk reportedly wanted to build satellites that were both cheaper and simpler, in order to get the job done sooner, which caused a clash between him and the Microsoft employees, who were used to a more evenly-paced work environment and deadlines.

SpaceX has so far not made any other comments on the issue, but it did release the statement below:

The SpaceX Redmond office is an essential part of the company’s efforts to build a next-generation satellite network that can link the world with reliable and affordable broadband service, reaching those who have never been connected before. Given the success of our recent Starlink demonstration satellites, we have incorporated lessons learned and re-organized to allow for the next design iteration to be flown in short order. This is a very similar approach of rapid iteration in design and testing which led to the success of Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon.”

SpaceX is in the race alongside other two rival companies: Telsat and OneWeb, the latter which also happens to be on its third CEO in two years – it’s easy to see how the pressure is building everywhere, not just in the SpaceX offices.

The satellites have to be put into operation within the deadline previously agreed between SpaceX and the Federal Communication Commission. If that does not happen, the approval they previously received could be revoked, which would mean losses of millions, if not billions.

For now, SpaceX has already launched its very first two satellites back in February, and they are all reported to be working within parameters.

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