Elon Musk's SpaceX says it's taking 10% off its workforce


Photo: Mark Brake (Getty)

A few days after Elon Musk unveiled the first images of his aerospace company's Starship test rocket, SpaceX has announced that it is reducing its workforce by about 10 percent.

"To continue delivering to our customers and succeeding in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company. Any of these developments, even when tried separately, have led to bankruptcy of other organizations, "the company said in a statement to Gizmodo.

"That means we must separate ourselves from some of the talented and hardworking members of our team. We are grateful for everything they have accomplished and their commitment to the SpaceX mission. This action is taken only because of the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and otherwise would not be necessary. "

The cuts will be felt throughout the company, which employs about 6,000 people. But as the Los Angeles Times noted on Friday, the cuts were intermittent at SpaceX. Musk would have been fired at least seven people last summer due to disagreements over the speed of performance of the company's Starlink satellite program; all were reported to have been senior management employees. SpaceX also sacked a significant number of workers, with two former structural technicians suing the company for allegations that SpaceX violated labor laws by not notifying them in advance.

An internal e-mail, obtained by SpaceX's president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell, about the latest round of layoffs called the decision "very difficult but necessary." Officials affected by layoffs will receive "a minimum of eight weeks "pay and other benefits," the Times said, citing Shotwell's e-mail to the team.

The layoffs occur at a pivotal moment for the company, which is gearing up for several significant milestones next year. In addition to the deployment of some of its first Starlink satellites following a demonstration launch last year, the company is also preparing hops tests for the Starship test-flight rocket. On a tweet Last week, Musk said test flights to the prototype of a spacecraft bound for Mars would be happening in the next four to eight weeks.

Musk previously estimated that the cost of developing the program would drive the company between $ 2 and $ 10 billion. As part of its effort to fund its highly expensive programs over the next few years, the company has raised an estimated $ 250 million in its first loan sale, the Wall Street Journal reported in November.

Despite the layoffs, SpaceX says it is financially secure. As the Times noted, Shotwell told CNBC last year that SpaceX had "many years" of profitability.

[Los Angeles Times]


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