A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, carrying the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on April 11, 2019.

Thom Baur | Reuters

One of SpaceX’s senior executives is leaving, CNBC has learned, in a rare high-level departure from Elon Musk’s space company.

Tom Ochinero, senior vice president of commercial business, resigned Monday, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. Ochinero is leaving to attend to a family medical matter, according to those people, who asked not to be named in order to discuss internal company information.

SpaceX did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Ochinero’s departure. 

Ochinero, like many of SpaceX’s dozen or so senior executives, has been with the company for more than a decade. He started his career at SpaceX as an engineer, helping design the nosecone used on its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets.

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Since taking the lead on selling SpaceX rockets and astronaut flights in 2019, Ochinero’s tenure included the steady expansion of the company’s market share in launching commercial satellites, as well as multiple deals for privately crewed spaceflights.

SpaceX Senior Vice President of Commercial Business Tom Ochinero speaks at a satellite industry conference in March 2023.

CNBC | Michael Sheetz

Ochinero was “personally responsible for over a billion dollars of annual revenue” at SpaceX, according to a biography from a space industry conference late last year. He reported to the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell.

Stephanie Bednarek, SpaceX’s senior director of commercial launch sales, is being tapped to take Ochinero’s role at the company, sources told CNBC.

Ochinero’s departure comes as the company prepares for the third test flight of its next-generation Starship rocket and expands its Starlink satellite internet business. The company has already established a near monopoly on the U.S. satellite launch market, due to its workhorse Falcon rockets and the struggles of rivals to field operational rockets to compete.

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