I know a previous question has been asked for the team in 2008 (first successful launch of the Falcon 1).

However, reading Ashlee Vance' s book on Elon Musk, I came accross this paragraph:

With that mission aborted, SpaceX ordered major LOX reinforcements from Hawaii and prepared for another attempt in mid-December. High winds, faulty valves, and other errors thwarted that launch attempt. Before another attempt could be made, SpaceX discovered on a Saturday night that the rocket’s power distribution systems had started malfunctioning and would need new capacitors. On Sunday morning, the rocket was lowered and split into its two stages so that a technician could slide in and remove the electrical boards. Someone found an electronics supplier that was open on Sunday in Minnesota, and off a SpaceX employee flew to get some fresh capacitors. By Monday he was in California and testing the parts at SpaceX’s headquarters to make sure they passed various heat and vibration checks, then on a plane again back to the islands. In under eighty hours, the electronics had been returned in working order and installed in the rocket. The dash to the United States and back showed that SpaceX’s thirty-person team had real pluck in the face of adversity and inspired everyone on the island.

Does this mean that for the first failed launch of the Falcon 1 (March 2006), the team was only 30 people strong?

  • $\begingroup$ considering the stunning speed that spaceflight (and SpaceX itself) has evolved in the last 20 years, I think it's okay to add the history tag to this question about events of 2006 and a "ragtag team" blowing things up and on a good day scaring cows $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ Yes 100% agree! For more context, I'm researching a bit on the topic of major accomplishment / technological breakthroughts and "small teams". I already have examples of huge companies with still tiny teams at some point (Mojang, Whatsapp, IG, Bubble.io, Tether, Solana, Sublime Text, Notion, Craigslist). But would like to find data points on true tech breakthroughts, esp. hardware wise. $\endgroup$
    – gbf29
    Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 14:45

1 Answer 1


According to wikipedia they had 160 people in November 2005. My guess would be the "team" in your quote is the team directly supporting the launch who had travelled to the launch site.


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