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Elon Musk Finds Time to Attend a Space Force Ceremony

Elon Musk, who was working on Twitter Inc. took a break on Wednesday to attend a Pentagon ceremony.

Elon Musk, who was working on Twitter Inc. took a break on Wednesday to attend a Pentagon ceremony.

The event was a change of command ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. It marked the retirement of General John Raymond, the first head of the US space force, whom Musk mentioned by name before appearing.

It reflects one of the billionaire’s other interests as the co-founder and chief executive of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which made him a key contractor for the Defense Department’s national security satellite launches.

Raymond invited Musk and other executives from companies involved in space programs to the event, according to a Pentagon official, and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, also mentioned Musk in his comments.

“What he really symbolizes is the combination of civil and military cooperation and teamwork that makes the United States the most powerful country in space,” Milley said at the ceremony.

Musk won a significant chunk of the Pentagon’s space launches after campaigning to break into what he called a monopoly previously owned by a joint venture of defense giants Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. On Tuesday, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket was launched from Kennedy Space Center with payloads classified for Space Force. It was the first Falcon Heavy flight after a three-year hiatus and marked the rocket’s first use on the US’s most sensitive National Security Space Launch missions.

The SpaceX launch and Musk’s presence at the Department of Defense ceremony highlighted the conflicting role he has come to play as both a Pentagon contractor and a critic of the US government. He once compared President Joe Biden to a damp sock puppet “in human form,” and last month threatened to cut funding for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite Internet service in Ukraine — a plan he later reversed.

The White House has not yet decided whether it would pay $8 a month that Musk has said he will have to maintain blue-check verification of Twitter accounts, a spokesperson said, sidestepping a question about Musk’s purchase of the platform. .

“I don’t believe it’s an issue that has reached the president’s office, not a conversation that the president is aware of,” press officer Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday. “That’s something for the president that we need to talk to the president about.”

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