Sea Launch LLC President Jim Maser is resigning his post at the end of this month to become president and chief operating office of launcher startup company Space Exploration Technologies, known as SpaceX. .
Maser, who joined the Boeing-led Sea Launch company seven years ago and has been its president for four and one-half years, confirmed March 16 that he had tendered his resignation but declined to confirm the SpaceX position.
Maser said he had been thinking of resigning for several months, and that Sea Launch’s recent successes in the marketplace and on the launch pad persuaded him that the time was right.
“I have had offers before, and some within Boeing, but I have turned them down because there were challenges here,” Maser said in an interview. “I think we’re there now at Sea Launch. People are asking me: Why are you leaving? Well, I’m leaving not because something’s wrong, but because everything’s right.”
El Segundo, Calif.-based SpaceX has been struggling for more than a year to complete the maiden flight of its Falcon 1 rocket. It is a vehicle that has captured the attention of the entire industry because of its advertised low price. SpaceX’s president and chief executive officer, Elon Musk, who made a fortune in the software business before turning his attention to the space-launch business.
“Jim brings a wealth of capability and experience to the SpaceX team,” Musk said in a March 17 statement. “His joining is also a tremendous endorsement of SpaceX, our accomplishments to date and our vision for the future.”
Sea Launch currently has a full order book and is preparing to extend its activities beyond its core business of launching heavy satellites from a floating platform on the equator in the Pacific Ocean, where it can launch satellites weighing 6,000 kilograms into geostationary transfer orbit. Sea Launch plans to use the same Russian-Ukrainian Zenit 3SL vehicle to operate from the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where it will be able to loft 3,000-kilogram satellites.
“I have been looking for new challenges,” Maser said.