SpaceX crew director moves to academia, says company will win race to space

Enlarge / Anchored to a Canadarm2, NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman participates in the mission’s first EVA in 2010. (credit: NASA)

After more than seven years, Garrett Reisman will leave his position at SpaceX as director of crew operations. The former astronaut says he will remain as a consultant at the company but could not pass up a job to teach human spaceflight at the nearby University of Southern California. His first day as Professor Reisman was Monday.

In an interview, Reisman said he has relished the experience of working at a dynamic company like SpaceX. “I’ve done three spacewalks, so I’ve done a lot of exciting things,” he said. But highlights such as the first flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket, or the first landing of a first-stage booster, were equally thrilling experiences. He watched that first landing in December 2015 from the SpaceX headquarters amid a crowd of thousands of employees. “I was in that throng of people jumping up and down,” he said.

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Since leaving NASA in 2011, Reisman has played a senior role in the development of SpaceX’s Dragon 2 spacecraft, which will carry humans to the International Space Station in a year or so. Having both lived on the space station, and then later visited on space shuttle Atlantis to assist with its final construction, he provided an astronaut’s perspective to the company.

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SpaceX crew director moves to academia, says company will win race to space