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He's talked rocket design specifics on many occasions and "built his own rocket" according to Vector Launch CEO Jim Cantrell [1]:

>He borrowed all of my college texts on rocket propulsion when we first started working together in 2001. We also hired as many of my colleagues in the rocket and spacecraft business that were willing to consult with him. ... I found out later that he was talking to a bunch of other people about rocket designs and collaborating on some spreadsheet level systems designs for launchers. Once our dealings with the Russians fell apart, he decided to build his own rocket and this was the genesis of SpaceX.

Additional info from Jim from a follow-up interview[2]:

>Cantrell ... loaned him some textbooks to study. The books were "Rocket Propulsion Elements," "Aerothermodynamics of Gas Turbine and Rocket Propulsion," "Fundamentals of Astrodynamics," and the "International Reference Guide to Space Launch Systems." He would quote passages verbatim from these books. He became very conversant in the material. ... Musk would absorb this information and then hold his own in conversations — and he didn't hold back.

Additionally, Ashlee Vance's biography [3] describes his day-to-day as "quite involved with rocket design" at SpaceX and goes into a lot of detail about spending time on the floor assisting SpaceX scientists with their designs.

Obviously any single person at a company the size of SpaceX doesn't individually design and build a rocket by themselves, but it's generally agreed upon that Elon is knowledgeable in rocket science and contributes many ideas to the designs.

[1] https://www.quora.com/How-did-Elon-Musk-learn-enough-about-r...

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/how-elon-musk-learned-rocket...

[3] https://www.amazon.com/Elon-Musk-SpaceX-Fantastic-Future/dp/...

So I really am not going tp be convinced here. Just cause this guy's ego is so huge that he goes and pokes his nose in places he doesn't belong doesn't make him a contributer. I don't care what his fluffer Jim says.

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