SpaceX founder Elon Musk is serious about enabling human life on Mars, and employees at his company’s new Seattle-area office will be key to accomplishing that goal.
In an interview with Bloomberg today, Musk said that he wants to eventually hire “maybe a thousand people” for SpaceX’s new office in Washington. GeekWire first reported news of the company’s Seattle-area hub in October of last year.
“It’s going to be fairly significant,” Musk said of the employee base in Seattle. “Ultimately, probably several hundred people, maybe a thousand people. So, it’s big.”
Musk told Bloomberg that there will be “50 or 60” employees initially, and it may be three or four years before the Seattle office employs 1,000. SpaceX, which already employs 4,000 and is headquartered in Southern California, is preparing to make an official announcement about the office on Friday.
Musk noted the engineering talent available in Seattle, which is already 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.
There are other tech giants in Seattle, too, that SpaceX could poach from. In October, GeekWire noticed several former Microsoft engineers in the Seattle region joining SpaceX within the past month, including ex-members from Microsoft’s Xbox and games teams.
It’s still unclear where exactly the office is located, but a filing with the state lists an address in Bellevue. [Update: The office is located in Redmond — more details here.] SpaceX currently has seven openings on its job board, including positions for “Antenna Engineer,” and “RF/Microwave Engineer.”
Musk said today that the office will be largely responsible for building satellites for SpaceX.
“It’s actually a satellite office creating satellites,” Musk joked.
On a more serious note, Musk said that “we’re trying to do for satellites what we’ve done for rockets and see if we can make some improvements in the satellite arena.”
Musk, who founded SpaceX in 2002 and also runs the Tesla car company, wants to colonize life on Mars and sees satellite development as a necessary task toward that ambition. Bloomberg notes that by building a commercial satellite business, Musk will gain revenue and better communications knowledge to help make life on Mars a reality.
SpaceX already flies supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) with its own rockets, and, along with Boeing, won a large piece of the contract to shuttle U.S. astronauts into space this past September. SpaceX more recently was unsuccessful in its inaugural attempt to land the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket softly on a barge in the ocean, but did see its Dragon capsule arrive at the ISS on Monday.
SpaceX is actually showing off its Dragon spacecraft this weekend at the Museum of Flight — more info on that here.
We’ve reached out to SpaceX for more details about the Seattle office and will update this post with more information when we hear back. Update — A SpaceX spokesperson wouldn’t provide further details past what Musk said today.