Shotwell Defends Elon Musk Against Sexual Harassment Claims

Gwynne Shotwell

CNBC reports that SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell defended CEO Elon Musk against charges of sexual harassment in an email to employees on Friday.

“Personally, I believe the allegations to be false; not because I work for Elon, but because I have worked closely with him for 20 years and never seen nor heard anything resembling these allegations,” Shotwell wrote in a companywide email sent on Friday and seen by CNBC.

Musk has denied the allegations, which claim he propositioned a flight attendant on one of SpaceX’s private jets in 2016, calling them “wild accusations.”

In a response to Business Insider, which reported the allegations and that the flight attendant was paid $250,000 severance after confronting the company, Musk said there is “a lot more to this story,” describing it as a “politically motivated hit piece.” Neither Musk nor SpaceX’s vice president of the legal department, Christopher Cardaci, denied the payment in statements to Business Insider.

Shotwell emphasized in her email that she “will never comment on any legal matters involving employment issues” before noting Musk publicly denied the allegations as “utterly untrue” in a tweet.

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SpaceX Looks to Raise $1.725 Billion in New Capital, $750 Million in Secondary Sale

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

CNBC reports on two stock sales by Elon Musk’s SpaceX that would send the company’s valuation to $127 billion:

The space venture is looking to bring in up to $1.725 billion in new capital, at a price of $70 per share, according to a company-wide email on Friday obtained by CNBC. Notably, SpaceX split its stock price 10-for-1 in February, which reduced the common stock to $56 a share – with the new valuation representing a 25% increase.

SpaceX is also conducting a secondary sale to company insiders and existing shareholders for up to $750 million in common stock. The company conducts these secondary offerings regularly, as a way for long-time stockholders to sell equity, given that SpaceX remains private more than 20 years since its founding.

The New York Post quoted a source as saying there was “very tepid demand” to SpaceX’s latest effort to raise capital, which would help to fund the company’s Starlink broadband satellite constellation and Starship/Super Heavy booster. The company raised $1.9 billion in 2020.

“No one is paying up for anything in this market,” the second source said, with public and private valuations of tech companies collapsing.

Part of Musk’s problem could be that many of his investors who typically participate in his fund-raisings committed several billion earlier this month to co-invest with him in Twitter. Now that position does not look great considering that Musk has questioned the social media giant’s financials.

Those loyal Musk investors for the moment might be somewhat tapped out, the first source said.

The value of Tesla stock has plunged since Musk announced plans to spend $44 billion to acquire Twitter. The decline in the stock has come amidst a general decline in tech stocks.

Musk has put the purchase on hold, saying that a lower price might be warranted if the number of automated bot accounts on Twitter are more than the company has previously stated. Twitter’s board, which approached the acquisition, said it will seek to enforce the sale.

Meanwhile, Musk has faced charges that he exposed himself to a SpaceX flight attendant and propositioned her for sex during a private jet trip to Europe. SpaceX is reported to have paid a $250,000 severance to the woman with a non-disclosure agreement that she not discuss the matter or disparate Musk or SpaceX.

Some Interesting Twitter Threads About the Elongate Story

Tim Farrar has a long thread that looks at SpaceX’s valuation and ability to raise money — both of which are crucial to its continued development of the Starlink satellite broadband constellation and the Starship/Super Heavy rocket. A lot of that valuation is dependent on confidence in the company and its founder, Elon Musk.

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Elon Musk Accused of Exposing Himself to and Propositioning Flight Attendant for Sex, Paying $250,000 for her Silence

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at the company’s production facility in Hawthorne, Calif. (Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Joe Juarez)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been publicly accused of exposing himself to and propositioning a flight attendant for sex on his corporate jet. SpaceX subsequently paid the woman a $250,000 severance package to keep quiet about the alleged sexual harassment, according to a story published by Insider.

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Video: Elon Musk Explains Updates to Starship and Starbase

Video Caption: Today we’re going inside Starbase with the ultimate tour guide, Elon Musk. He’s going to take us through the High Bay to see where Starships are assembled, we’ll also see the new MegaBay under construction and talk about SpaceX’s plans to get this rocket flying.

Recommended videos to help with some context [Playlist] – https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLW…

Huge thanks to Ryan Chylinksi from Cosmic Perspective for helping shoot this video! – https://www.youtube.com/c/CosmicPersp... & http://patreon.com/cosmicperspective

SpaceX’s Ability to Thwart Russian Jamming of Starlink Called “Eye Watering”

Starlink Premium antenna. (Credit: SpaceX)

Popular Mechanics reports that the Pentagon is studying how SpaceX was able to quickly thwart attempts to jam Starlink satellite broadband receivers the company sent to Ukraine to help the nation defend itself against a Russian invasion.

The U.S. Department of Defense is casting envious eyes on Elon Musk’s SpaceX after the aerospace company swiftly responded to an “electronic warfare attack” in Ukraine last month. SpaceX donated Starlink terminals to Ukraine to help the country stay connected in wartime, but Russian signal-jamming attempted to thwart those plans. The notoriously bureaucratic Pentagon says it’s a model for responding to threats that it can’t currently match—but desperately needs to…..

According to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, some Starlink terminals near the front line in Ukraine were experiencing jamming, presumably from Russian military electronic warfare units. Musk later tweeted that the company quickly “reprioritized to cyber defense & overcoming signal jamming,” and issued a fix within a day, broadcast to all Starlink terminals. The fix reportedly involved changing a single line of software code.

A one-day turnaround for software fixes is par for the course for commercial businesses, especially startups, but not for the government. Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told attendees at an industry conference that SpaceX’s handling of Russian jamming in Ukraine was “eye-watering.”

SpaceX has sent 5,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine, including 3,667 donated by SpaceX and 1,333 purchased by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Texas Gov. Abbott Vows to Fight for SpaceX to Launch From Boca Chica

Greg Abbott

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to fight for SpaceX to receive federal approval to launch its Super Heavy/Starship system from the company’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas. Rio Grande Guardian reports:

Asked by veteran broadcaster Ron Whitlock of Ron Whitlock Reports whether he is concerned about losing SpaceX, Abbott said:

“What I am going to do if Biden interferes with the ability of SpaceX to launch from Boca Chica; I am going to be working every step of the way to make sure that they are going to be able to launch from Boca Chica. We heard the vision from Mr. Patel himself about what they are working on and our job is to make sure they are able to achieve their vision. And I have worked with Elon Musk very closely with regard to Tesla and the Giga factory in Austin, Texas. And we will be working with him very closely, every step of the way in Boca Chica for the future of SpaceX. We want that future and that vision to come from Boca Chica, from Brownsville, Texas.”

Whitlock followed up with: “And not to Florida?” Abbott responded: “Correct.”

Whitlock interviewed Abbott at an economic development event held recently at the Port of Brownsville. Since this event, SpaceX has learned that its application to expand its Boca Chica rocket launching site has hit a new hurdle.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Suspends SpaceX’s Application to Expand Boca Chica Launch Facility

The purple line surrounds parts of SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility that has been developed. Additional facilities would be added below that area. The dotted line delineates SpaceX’s property line. The orange areas are unvegetated salt flats. The green areas are high marsh areas. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Elon Musk’s controversial plan to launch SpaceX’s Super Heavy/Starship system from Boca Chica, Texas has hit another snag as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended review of the company’s application for an expansion of its Starbase spaceport. The reason: SpaceX’s failure to provide additional information requested from the company on May 21, 2021. The application can be revived if SpaceX provides the requested information.

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SpaceX Launches 40 Satellites into Space

Falcon9 Transporter-4 launch. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

by David Bullock
Staff Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla., April 1, 2022 — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 40 payloads as part of the company’s Transporter-4 dedicated smallsat rideshare mission.

The rocket launched into a sun-synchronous orbit at 12:24 p.m. EDT. The mission manifest included the first satellite orbited by Pixxel of India, Kleos Space’s Patrol Mission, and 12 Spacebee communications satellites. A list of payloads is below.

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Trailer for Netflix’s Return to Space Documentary

Video Caption: Offering rare inside access to NASA and SpaceX, this is the thrilling story of the nearly 20 year journey to send American astronauts back to space aboard U.S. rockets, from Oscar-winning filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, The Rescue).

Russian Military Could Use Starlink Service to Target Ukrainians

Last weekend, Ukraine’s vice prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted an urgent plea to billionaire Elon Musk for help in keeping the Internet operating amid a brutal Russian invasion.

@elonmusk, while you try to colonize Mars — Russia try to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets successfully land from space — Russian rockets attack Ukrainian civil people! We ask you to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations and to address sane Russians to stand.

Musk responded quickly turned SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service on over Ukraine, and within 48 hours a truckload of user antennas and terminals arrived in the embattled nation. The actions garnered worldwide praise for the world’s wealthiest individual. Amid all the acclaim, however, more cautious voices warned of a hidden danger that could put Ukrainian lives at risk.

This morning, five days after the shipment arrived, CNN published a detailed story (SpaceX sent Starlink internet terminals to Ukraine. They could paint a ‘giant target’ on users’ backs, experts say) outlining the potential risks to Ukrainian Starlink users.

After the story went live, Musk slapped a warning label on the terminals via Twitter.

Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution.

Hopefully, Ukraine officials are taking proper precautions and Starlink helps rather than adds to their problems.

OneWeb Suspends Satellite Launches From Baikonur

Soyuz rocket launches 36 OneWeb satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 27, 2021. (Credit: Arianespace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Friday launch of 36 OneWeb broadband satellites aboard a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome is officially canceled as the London-based company refused demands from the Russian government amid growing international tensions over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Board of OneWeb has voted to suspend all launches from Baikonur,” the company said in a one-sentence statement.

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Russia Holds OneWeb Satellites Hostage; No Launch Unless Company & British Government Meet Demands

Vladimir Putin receives a briefing from Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: Office of the Russian President)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In what is likely the first hostage drama involving communication satellites, the head of the Russian space program has demanded that the British government divest its shares in OneWeb and that the broadband satellite operator not provide services to foreign militaries in order to launch a new batch of spacecraft. The move comes amid growing tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country by western nations.

Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that unless these demands are met, Russia will refuse to launch 36 OneWeb satellites that sit atop a Soyuz-2.1b rocket currently on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch is scheduled for Saturday morning Moscow time.

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