Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne has a team of 575 employees and the rocket needed 700 million USD investment.

Falcon 1 is very similar in size and it required 90 million USD investments.

Electron rocket is a bit smaller rocket and it required 100 million USD investments. The company had 200 employees when launching the first time but 500 after just 2 years.

But how many employees SpaceX had when Falcon 1 made the first successfull flight?


1 Answer 1


About 500, according to this space.com article.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told an elated group of 500 employees at his Hawthorne, Calif.-based headquarters.

Of course, there were not that many earlier on; they were starting to hire up at that point to fulfill a NASA contract for what would become Falcon 9 and Dragon. That contract had been awarded to the amount of $278 million in August 2006, although SpaceX had to meet many milestones to make that work. The first successful launch of Falcon 1 was Sept 2008; they had had funding for over 2 years to develop Falcon 9 and Dragon.

  • $\begingroup$ Then I would say max 400 were working for Falcon 1. Maybe even 300 $\endgroup$
    – Joe Jobs
    Oct 12, 2020 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ Given that the NASA contract was worth more than $90 million, I suspect the majority of those employees were focused on Falcon 9/ Dragon. But it's pretty much impossible to say without some insider assistance. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Oct 12, 2020 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ @PearsonArtPhoto that $90 million for Falcon 1 was private money I believe. Was watching the NatGeo "Mars: Inside SpaceX" docudrama and in one of the interviews with Elon Musk he said "they {SpaceX) had private money to build and launch 3 (Falcon1) rockets". When the first 3 failed, they had to scratch around to get extra money for the 4th rocket (and 1st successful launch). NASA contracts and development money came later $\endgroup$ Oct 12, 2020 at 23:21
  • $\begingroup$ SpaceX actually had a contract in 2006, as I said. They were required to get a substantial chunk of funding on their own, and meet certain deadlines to get the funds, but NASA had awarded them $278 million in August 2006, pending meeting these milestones. No doubt SpaceX diverted money from the Falcon 1, but it's hard to say how much. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Oct 13, 2020 at 0:13

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