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SpaceX’s visionary outlook has expanded once again, targeting its focus on taking satellite technology to the next level with a new office in Seattle dedicated to making low-cost Internet access universally available around the globe. The new facility is strategically located near the talent pools created by Microsoft and Boeing. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is confident that developing a reliable global satellite communication system is an indispensable part of the company’s overarching mission to put a human colony on Mars. Thus the Seattle operation’s objective will be to study and experiment with the technology necessary to turn fantasy into reality.
Musk will be traveling to Seattle this Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, where he is expected to reveal additional details about the office he jokingly referred to as “a satellite office to create satellites.” The Seattle branch will be an offshoot of the main office in Hawthorne, Cal. with communications satellites as its development target. SpaceX’s northwest operation will actually be located in Redmond, Wash., a suburb 16 miles east of Seattle in the greater metropolitan area, which is also home to the software giant, Microsoft. The Redmond office is already off to a modest beginning. However, Musk foresees exponential growth over the next few years as they draw on the rich brain trust of technological expertise present in the greater Seattle area in the quest to launch hundreds of communications satellites capable of blanketing the globe with universal free or low-cost Internet access.
Musk’s strategy in developing the satellite business is to build smaller but pack in a fortune in advanced technology. He believes that such bold risks are the way to quickly sort out which design features work best and discard the lemons in order to boost the speed of progress and put SpaceX light years ahead of the game in the Martian race.
The SpaceX website is currently advertising for avionics and hardware design specialists for the Washington state office. Never one to think small, Elon Musk has set his sights on broadening the company’s work for the U.S. government beyond the recently won NASA contract to tote supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). He wants to claim a chunk of the Pentagon’s $70 billion budget for satellite launches over the next 15 years.
Musk’s Seattle visit comes at the same time as SpaceX’s revolutionary Dragon rocket, the first private spacecraft to ferry goods to the ISS, arrives for temporary display at the Museum of Flight. SpaceX is not a company that sits around in their offices and waits for things to happen. In fact, the Teal Group’s director of space studies, Marco Caceres characterizes them as “gutsy,” noting their reputation for the targeted dedication and perseverance necessary to “get things done” and take a vision from paper to the substance of reality. SpaceX engineers are now working on modified versions of the Dragon rocket that will be able to transport humans to the Red Planet. Never one to let adversity knock him out of the game or keep him down, Elon Musk is determined to turn recent difficulties with the Air Force and setbacks with launches into an opportunity to move SpaceX forward and work the same magic with satellites as they have done for rockets in order to bring about a revolution in universal Internet access and planetary communications.
By Tamara Christine Van Hooser
Image courtesy of Maëlick – Flickr License