SpaceX to lay off 10 per cent of workforce

Daniel Fowler
January 14, 2019

SpaceX is now preparing to launch astronauts to the International Space Station through a contract with NASA - after years of uncrewed re-supply missions to the agency's space station.

SpaceX plans to lay off 10 per cent of its more than 6,000 employees, a source familiar with the decision said last Friday. "Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organisations", the company said in a statement to Gizmodo.

"This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team", the statement continued.

"We are grateful for everything they have accomplished and their commitment to SpaceX's mission", the company continued.

The firm announced that it would be parting ways with approximately 600 of its employees because of the "extraordinarily hard challenges ahead". The company hopes to launch the first crew to Mars by mid-2020s.

In October, Elon Musk reportedly at least seven people from senior management at the SpaceX facilities in Redmond, Washington, as he was not satisfied with the speed of developing and testing Starlink satellites.

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Musk posted pictures on Twitter of the Starship Hopper prototype, which awaits its first flight test in Texas in the coming weeks. The first unpiloted test flight of the vehicle is planned as early as February, with the piloted mission planned for sometime in the summer.

Also Friday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying 10 communications satellites.

Musk estimated in September that its new launch system would cost somwhere in the range of $2 to 10 billion.

Elon Musk showed how SpaceX Starship test rocket looks like. "This is probably one of the most challenging - if not the most challenging - projects we've undertaken", Shotwell said.

SpaceX has recently been raising a new $500 million funding round that would value the company at an estimated $30 billion. SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said during a TED Talk a year ago that she expects the satellite constellation to cost about $10 billion to deploy.

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