A shadowy op-ed campaign is now smearing SpaceX in space cities

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In early August, Boeing’s Leanne Caret and SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell took the stage at Johnson Space Center to announce the first astronauts who will fly on their commercial crew spacecraft. It was a significant moment to see two of the most powerful women in aerospace alongside one another—two fierce competitors coming together for the good of the country.

As president and chief executive officer of Boeing’s Defense, Space, & Security unit, Caret said the company took pride in working with NASA and the aerospace industry to bring a human space launch capability back to America. “All of us are here today because we stand for something new and profound,” Caret said. “It is personal for all of us in this room, together, returning American astronauts on American rockets from US soil and creating endless possibilities for generations to come.”

Around this time, half a dozen newspapers across the country—several in key space markets—began publishing an op-ed that criticized the process by which Boeing competitor SpaceX fuels its Falcon 9 rocket. The first op-ed appeared in a Memphis newspaper a week before the commercial crew announcement. In recent weeks, copies of the op-ed have also appeared in the Houston Chronicle, various Alabama newspapers, Albuquerque Journal, Florida Today, and The Washington Times.

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