Space Exploration Technologies, the Elon Musk-owned company better known as SpaceX, has been heavily recruiting engineers from Microsoft and other companies in the region as it gears up a new Seattle-area office.
Recent status updates on LinkedIn show several former Microsoft engineers in the Seattle region joining SpaceX within the past month, and we’re hearing that the numbers are actually larger than that. Examples include a former Microsoft senior electrical engineer and a former principal electrical engineering lead at Microsoft who worked on “an incubation team developing proprietary hardware concepts” for the Redmond company.
SpaceX has yet to make a formal announcement of the new office, but its jobs site lists Seattle as one of its locations in addition to its corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., and locations in Florida, Texas, California and Washington, D.C.
Representatives of SpaceX have not yet responded to a request for comment about the Seattle-area office, but a filing with the state lists an address in Bellevue.
Former members of the Microsoft Xbox and games teams are also among those who have joined the space company — which makes sense given past comments by Musk. “We actually hire a lot of our best software engineers out of the gaming industry,” he told Fast Company earlier this year.
“In gaming there’s a lot of smart engineering talent doing really complex things. [Compared to] a lot of the algorithms involved in massive multiplayer online games…a docking sequence [between spacecraft] is actually relatively straightforward. So I’d encourage people in the gaming industry to think about creating the next generation of spacecraft and rockets.”
Of course, the Seattle region is also rich with aerospace experience, given the presence of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, its suppliers, and newer companies such as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin — which happens to be involved in a patent dispute with SpaceX.
SpaceX flies supply missions to the International Space Station and, along with Boeing, recently won a large piece of the contract to shuttle U.S. astronauts into space.