Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) will add up to 200 employees through the rest of 2009, and expects its workforce to grow through 1,000 next year. The company also believes getting hold of high quality engineers for its expansion may be helped indirectly by the financial meltdown.
“That’s not crazy growth, but pretty good growth,” says CEO Elon Musk who adds “we’re trying to be the smallest company we can be for the job that needs to be done.” SpaceX is ramping up towards the start of commercial launch work with both its Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, as well as the start of flights for the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.
Ironically Musk believes that the space industry workforce could be a beneficiary of the global economic crisis. “There is a good silver lining to the whole financial meltdown. There were way too many smart engineers going into financial services. We lost one of our best engineers to a hedge fund, which is nuts!” As a result of the widespread collapse and contraction of many financial companies, Musk expects this trend to continue to reverse. Musk remains confident that business will grow, both domestically and internationally. “I’m very optimistic about the international market because our launch costs are lower than anyone else to the best of my knowledge – and that includes places like Russia and China. We’ve already won a number of international launch contracts from Sweden and Malaysia.”