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Elon Musk’s Rocket Man at SpaceX Channels His Boss

While Elon Musk is swamped at Twitter, a like-minded SpaceX lieutenant, Mark Juncosa, is in charge of getting the company’s gargantuan Starship rocket off the ground. Whether he succeeds could determine SpaceX’s future.

SpaceX's Mark Juncosa and the Starship rocket in Boca Chica, Texas. Photo from Disney+ and Getty Images
SpaceX's Mark Juncosa and the Starship rocket in Boca Chica, Texas. Photo from Disney+ and Getty Images
Dec. 2, 2022 6:00 AM PST

Once, when top SpaceX executive Mark Juncosa was frustrated by poor cellphone service in a meeting at company headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., he pointed to a SpaceX employee in the meeting and told them it was their responsibility to fix the cell coverage in the room, according to a person who attended the meeting.

It was the kind of thing Juncosa’s boss, Elon Musk, might do. And it highlights one reason why Juncosa has bonded with Musk so much that colleagues call him the “Elon whisperer” and describe him as Musk’s heir apparent at SpaceX. Juncosa is said to employ some of the same exacting management techniques that have earned Musk so much attention at Twitter, including a demand for long hours from SpaceX employees.

The dependability of deputies like Juncosa has given Musk the ability to pull off levels of moonlighting that are unheard of in the corporate world, even before he started running Twitter, which he bought and took private in October. Musk is also CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and brain computer interface company Neuralink, not to mention an executive at the tunneling startup he co-founded, The Boring Company. He is also a co-founder of artificial intelligence research lab OpenAI.

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