Tech

SpaceX's Lead Engineer Leaves Company to Join Competitor Relativity Space: Find Out Why

By Urian , May 19, 2020 03:31 AM EDT

Relativity Space hired a SpaceX executive named Zachary Dunn on May 18, 2020. Zachary Dunn is to be the vice president of factory development for Relativity Space. Dunn will lead a team with its main goal of transporting Terran 1, Relativity Space's first launch vehicle.

Moreover, Dunn will be helping in scaling the production of the launch vehicle. The company will be using 3D print technology in creating these launch vehicles.

The Start of an Astronomical Career for Zachary Dunn

According to his LinkedIn profile, Zachary Dunn studied in two universities: Duke University and Stanford University, respectively. He first obtained his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University from 2000-2005. Subsequently, he acquired his master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University from 2005-2007.

During that time, he applied for summer internships in two astronomical institutions: NASA and Space Exploration Technologies (or SpaceX). Way back in 2004, Dunn was accepted into NASA as a summer intern. He was a NASA Langley Summer Scholar and attended NASA's internship program for three months from June 2004 to August 2004.

Next, he applied as a summer intern for four months in the summer of 2006 for Space Exploration Technologies. A year after that, right after his master's graduation at Stanford University, he was hired by SpaceX as a propulsion development engineer. 

Throughout his stay in SpaceX, he has attained several positions within the institution. Dunn worked in Space X for a total of 12 years and has ranked up since then.Before his departure from SpaceX, he was the senior vice president of production and launch for SpaceX.

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A New Era for Zachary Dunn

Tim Ellis, Relativity Space's chief executive, hired Dunn because of his expertise in rocket development. He stated in an interview that what stuck out to him was that Dunn has the knowledge, wisdom, and experience to resolve any engineering issues when it comes to rocket development.

Ellis said that creating an efficient production system and maintaining a factory's efficiency in creating launch vehicles such as rockets is crucial in launching Relativity Space's first-ever rocket. Dunn is the best asset he could find for Relativity Space's main goal right now.

Due to the COVID-19, precautionary measures have been established in the premises of Relativity Space. Relativity Space only allows one person to regularly facilitate the 3D printers that are at work in the factory. The rest of the company's workers and staff are working at home. Despite the health crisis, Relativity Space continues to operate from the comforts of each employee's home.

As the pandemic continues, Relativity Space is devising new ways in maintaining the work to be done in their factories and offices while still practicing precautionary measures to maintain the safe working environment for its workers and staff. A tweet by Elon Musk, SpaceX's founder, was sent out to Eric Berger, confirming Zachary Dunn's departure from SpaceX.

Elon Musk mentioned that Zachary Dunn was one of the people that made significant contributions to the productions of SpaceX and is a dear friend to him. Musk is aware of his departure from Space X and wishes him well for his new venture with Relativity Space.

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