Bobby Block Leaves SpaceX for Troubled CASIS

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (CASIS PR) – Today, Robert “Bobby” Block was named director of communications for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) – the nonprofit entity selected in 2011 by NASA to maximize utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory.

In this position, Block will be responsible for promoting the CASIS and ISS National Laboratory brands internationally through targeted communications, marketing and public relations campaigns. He will also lead an aggressive effort to build lasting partnerships with industry and stakeholder media.

Prior to joining CASIS, Block served as the vice president of corporate communications for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), a commercial spaceflight company based in Hawthorne, CA. While at SpaceX, Block was credited by space industry media with making the company more “press friendly” and transparent.

Prior to SpaceX, Block held senior-level news reporting positions at nationally-recognized organizations like Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and the Orlando Sentinel. He is an author and award-winning journalist with more than three decades of experience in media and public relations.

“Bobby brings high-level media and public relations expertise to our growing organization,” said CASIS Interim Executive Director Jim Royston. “In the coming months, as he leads our branding and promotional efforts, I am confident we will significantly raise the profile of CASIS and the ISS National Lab in the international marketplace.”

Editor’s Note: Block’s hiring was actually done prior to the recent bust up that saw CASIS Director Jeanne Becker resign over a management dispute.

Block took the SpaceX job last March, meaning that he lasted about a year. Block says the departure was amicable. It also seems a bit unusual. Taking a job at that level is a major commitment and a large bump up in salary. To leave for a non-profit only a year later is rather curious.

There have been other short executive tenures at SpaceX. Mark Bitterman left a 19-year career at Orbital Sciences Corporation to serve as SpaceX’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. He departed less than three months later for “family reasons” and later took up a similar post at ULA.

Former astronaut Ken Bowersox left SpaceX at the end of last year after serving as vice president of astronaut safety and mission assurance since June 2009. He is reported to have left after a falling out with SpaceX founder Elon Musk over a personnel issue.