4 lessons we learned from SpaceX

Recticel Flexible Foams, 16.02.2018

Congratulations to SpaceX on the successful launch of Falcon Heavy! Recticel and its subsidiary Soundcoat in the US are proud to have played a role in this historic event. SpaceX is not just an important client but also a huge source of inspiration for us. Here are just some of the lessons we have learned from working in partnership with this visionary company.

SpaceX Heavy Tesla
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1. Go outside your comfort zone

Elon Musk is not just the face of SpaceX. He is its founder, CEO, lead designer and central motivation. His relentless ambition and creativity are matched by confidence, hard work and uncompromising standards. Musk is not afraid to demand the most from his employees because he himself gives everything. In the words of Dolly Singh, the former head of talent acquisition at SpaceX, “He pushes himself harder and harder and he pushes others around him the exact same way. So if you work for Elon you have to accept the discomfort. But in that discomfort is the kind of growth you can’t get anywhere else, and worth every ounce of blood and sweat.”

2. Do not go incremental when you innovate

SpaceX has repeatedly attracted worldwide attention for a series of historic milestones. It is the only private company ever to return a spacecraft from low-Earth orbit. It made history again when its Dragon spacecraft first delivered cargo to and from the International Space Station. In 2017, SpaceX successfully achieved the first re-flight of an orbital class rocket – a historic milestone on the road to full and rapid rocket reusability. For the relentless innovators at SpaceX, launching Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, is just one more step on the road to a key goal – to develop fully and rapidly reusable rockets that will transform space exploration by delivering highly reliable vehicles at radically reduced costs.

3. Dream big

Musk is open about the fact that he expected SpaceX and Tesla to fail, but that didn’t stop him trying. His unaccomplished goals include converting automobiles, households and as much industry as possible from fossil fuels to sustainable energy; implementing a new form of high-speed transportation via vacuum tube; creating a mind-computer interface to enhance human health; and saving humanity from future threats posed by artificial intelligence. His achievements are even more impressive: with no experience whatsoever, he entered two industries with extremely high barriers to entry – car manufacturing (Tesla) and rocketry (SpaceX) – and created the best products in those industries.

4. Keep it fun

Test rockets are traditionally launched with an object such as a block of concrete or steel to simulate the weight of a real payload. Musk decided that SpaceX would do it differently, instead including a red Tesla Roadster ‘driven’ by a dummy named Starman, simply because a car would be much more fun and not boring. “Anything boring is terrible, especially companies, so we decided to send something unusual, something that made us feel,” he said. The first images of the electric car floating in the foreground, with the earth as a small globe behind it, astonished the world. And for many of the viewers who witnessed it, it created an unforgettable connection to SpaceX and its achievement.

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Watch the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch