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Musk doubles workforce on Starship project

March 9, 2020

Amidst technical problems and project delays evidently, Elon Musk has been asking why more progress isn’t being made on his ambitious Starship ‘rocket-to-Mars’ concept.

Technology publication Ars Technica, in a fascinating report (‘Welcome to Muskville‘) talks about Musk instructing his existing staff working on the Starship prototypes to hire more people.

From February 23rd at 1am when he called his team together at the Boca Chica Beach facility in Texas until 11pm two full days later, the workforce grew by 252 people, taking the payroll to more than 500 staff.

As Ars Technica reports, just a year ago the complete team comprised barely a dozen people were working at the site. Now technicians are working 3 x 12-hour shifts for Week 1 and have 4 days off, then 4 x 12 shifts for Week 2 and have 3 days off. By this method Musk wants a 7-day production cycle.

But Musk is driving the new team hard. He told reporter Eric Berger that he had sent out a note to the team that the rocket prototype which had just failed was badly designed, badly built, and badly checked.

Key to Musk’s ambition is to build his Starship rockets at a phenomenal rate of one rocket a week by the end of this year, and then one rocket every 72 hours. The Starship itself is the upper stage of what will be a massive rocket and to pare costs down to a miniscule $5 million each.

Musk told Berger that he wanted to build 1000 Starships and for each to be reusable, as his Falcon rockets are.  The goal is to fly a prototype later this Spring on a 20 km hop and return the rocket to Earth.

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