Musk has reportedly played a “less active role” in SpaceX operations since buying Twitter for $44 billion in late October and delegated more responsibility to his deputy Gwynne Shotwell, who serves as the space firm’s president and chief operating officer.
Current and former SpaceX workers told Bloomberg the company’s workflow hasn’t suffered and its workplaces have “some semblance of calm” even “when Musk’s focus is elsewhere.”
Ex-employees said Musk’s involvement often results in additional work, such as in cases when the billionaire “demanded changes for sometimes arbitrary reasons.”
While leading SpaceX, Musk has asked for hardware to be overhauled if he decided it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing or its components seemed overly complex. His directives have prompted redesigns that “take weeks to accomplish.”
Periods in which Musk is more directly involved at SpaceX often impact the hiring process, with the executive withholding approval for prospective candidates or enacting pauses when he felt the firm was already overstaffed, according to the report.
The report cited one occasion in which Musk required the team working on SpaceX’s “Crew Dragon” manned spacecraft to attend a meeting on a Saturday and pushed them to maintain his preferred timeline for a launch. The directive purportedly “rattled” employees who wanted to focus on safety.
“Given this history, some current employees expressed relief about Musk’s recent focus on Twitter,” Bloomberg said in the report.
The Post has reached out to SpaceX for comment on the report.
The Twitter account @ElonJetNextDay, a page run by college student Jack Sweeney that tracks Musk’s private jet’s movements with a 24-hour delay, noted earlier this month that the aircraft hasn’t made a trip to the airport closest to SpaceX’s “Starbase” in Texas since last October.
Musk has taken a hands-on approach to running Twitter by naming himself as CEO and ensconcing himself at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. The 51-year-old has personally directed major changes at the social media firm, including sweeping layoffs and an overhaul of its paid subscription service.
Meanwhile, SpaceX has moved forward with its slate of highly scrutinized projects, including plans to conduct its first commercial spacewalk later this year and the construction of its massive Starship, the vessel tabbed for future missions to the moon and Mars.
Earlier this month, CNBC reported that SpaceX had raised an additional $750 million in funding at a $137 billion valuation.