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Feb 11, 2020

William Gerstenmaier joins SpaceX, and that’s a really big deal

Posted by in category: space travel

For example, less than an hour after CNBC first reported Gerstenmaier’s hiring, the head of Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, tweeted his congratulations: “I wish my friend success in his new job!”

In his new position, Gerstenmaier is reporting to Hans Koenigsmann, the vice president of mission assurance at SpaceX. Although the role is officially a consultancy, it is expected to become a full-time position. SpaceX is poised to launch the first crewed mission of its Dragon spacecraft by June of this year. Gerstenmaier will play a key role in ensuring the safety of those missions and helping SpaceX secure certification for the Crew Dragon vehicle.

The hiring could have longer-term implications as well. Few people in the global aerospace community have as much gravitas as Gerstenmaier or as much understanding of how to build coalitions to explore space. As SpaceX seeks partners—including NASA—to work with it on developing Starship to take humans to the Moon and Mars, Gerstenmaier is well-positioned to offer advice, stitch together mission plans, and open key doors.

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