SpaceX president says Elon Musk is 'as lucid and capable' as ever — report

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Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX COO

Elon Musk is "as lucid and capable as he has ever been," SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell said at a satellite conference in Paris, Bloomberg News reported.

"[He] is a brilliant man," Shotwell said Tuesday, according to the report. "I wish people would not focus on triviality."

Musk remains firmly in the public eye after a tumultuous month of announcements and appearances: He launched his auto company Tesla into controversy with a take-private tweet on Aug. 7 and appeared to smoke weed during a Sept. 6 podcast. The Air Force has begun looking into the latter situation, telling CNBC in a statement Sept. 7 the military "will need time to determine the facts and the appropriate process to handle the situation." It is unclear whether a formal investigation will be launched by the Air Force.

SpaceX is on pace this year to shatter its record 18 successful launches completed in 2017. The company has already completed 16 launches — including the debut of Falcon Heavy, the most powerful rocket in the world. SpaceX also debuted an enhanced version of its Falcon 9 rocket called Block 5 on May 11, launching and landing the new vehicle in its first attempt.

Shotwell, leading day-to-day operations, has helped make SpaceX the dominant company in the global market of orbital rocket launches, which the U.S. had ceded to Russia and Europe until last year. Launching nearly every other week — while developing a gigantic reusable Mars rocket and a constellation of 4,425 broadband satellites — SpaceX has become one of the most valuable private companies in the world, worth about $28 billion.

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