Bobby Block, who began working for Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) as the company’s Vice-President of Communications in March of 2011 – has decided to leave the NewSpace firm to work for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space or CASIS. CASIS is a non-profit organization that is responsible for the I.S.S. national laboratory.
At SpaceX, Block is credited with turning around SpaceX’s media relations department. Some members of the media had difficulty with SpaceX representatives prior to Block’s arrival. As a former journalist, Block put in place elements that were missing from SpaceX’s public and media relations strategy. Whether-or-not SpaceX’s media relations will return to their former state – remains to be seen. Block’s departure comes just a few months after Ken Bowersox, a five-time space flight veteran who was serving as SpaceX’s vice-president of Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance.
For his part, Block has fond memories of his time working for the firm that made history by becoming the first company to launch a spacecraft into orbit – and return it safely to Earth.
“I really enjoyed my time working with SpaceX,” Block said during a recent telephone interview. “I’m leaving on amicable terms to pursue this new opportunity.”
CASIS is working to develop the I.S.S. into a world-class research facility that can contribute to medical and scientific discoveries. It is hoped that CASIS will reignite interest in the capabilities of the space station.
SpaceX launched its first Dragon spacecraft on one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets in December of 2010 – a mere six months after it launched the first of its Falcon 9 rockets. It has been endeavoring to get the second of its Dragon spacecraft ready for launch later this spring. This mission will serve to combine elements of the second and third demonstration flights of the $1.6 billion Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract.
As a point of order, CASIS is responsible for the ISS National Laboratory. NASA is still responsible for managing the ISS itself as a platform and its own research.
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