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Hans Koenigsmann, 4th person hired by Musk at SpaceX, retiring

The fourth person Elon Musk ever hired when he was starting SpaceX, Hans Koenigsmann, has announced that he is retiring.

SpaceX vice president of build and flight reliability Hans Koenigsmann is retiring and has begun transitioning his role to former top NASA official William “Bill” Gerstenmaier, according to note to employees that was seen by CNBC.

Essentially, Koenigsmann and Gerstenmaier will be trading places. Gerstenmaier has been a consultant at SpaceX, will now move into Koenigsmann’s position, while Koenigsmann will become a technical advisor similar to what Gerstenmaier has been.

Without doubt Koenigsmann is one the the main reasons why SpaceX has become as successful as it has. I am sure Elon Musk will miss him.

While I have heard sources in the space community happy about the choice of Gersternmaier to replace him, I have reservations. Gersternmaier was in charge of NASA’s manned space program for almost the entire period it was trying to build SLS and Orion, and was the key planner behind its numerous delays and problems. While he started out well at NASA, those later years make me think of him as a typical Washington bureaucrat, spinning problems to defuse negative publicity rather than fixing them quickly. It was this spinning over the problems with SLS that I think finally got him fired by the Trump administration.

I hope I am wrong. I also know that if I am not, the odds are high that Gerstenmaier will not last long in this position. Musk does not tolerate spin.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Ray Van Dune

    Musk did not get his original cadre from the aerospace establishment, so what is driving him there now? Ppl

  • I guess the US Justice Department is going to be pretty mad about this Non US citizen leaving Space X.

  • Ray Van Dune

    To clarify, I can appreciate that Musk may feel he needs world-class manufacturing savvy to achieve the rates and quality of production his strategy requires, but I suggest looking to Toyota, not LockBoeNASA.

  • Michael

    Gerstenmaier? That’s like President Trump hiring Ryan.

    The man does have his failings after all. Hopefully he was just rattled by SN9 and will correct soon.

  • Jeff Wright

    He is an HLLV advocate, so he will support Starship-maybe push for hydrogen upper stages. I think a modified Super-Heavy Two could be a single strap-on for an SLS core for something like ALS/NLS down the road…SLS having NTRs.

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