SpaceX wants to be 'leaner,' sets layoffs

James Marshall
January 12, 2019

"To continue delivering for our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company", the company said in a statement Friday.

SpaceX is laying off about 10 percent of its workforce, a cost-cutting move the company says is required to focus on development of its next-generation launch system and a broadband satellite constellation. "This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily hard challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary".

Starlink saw layoffs in June, when at least seven members of the program's senior management team in Redmond, Wash., were let go because CEO Elon Musk was unhappy with the pace of the project, according to Reuters. "Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organizations".

SpaceX makes most of its money from commercial and national security satellite launches, as well as two Nasa contracts, one a multibillion-dollar deal to deliver cargo to the International Space Station and the other up to US$2.6-billion to develop a capsule that will deliver astronauts to the space station.

SpaceX has also embarked on a mission to beam internet services to Earth around the globe through a network of satellites dubbed Starlink, the first set of which will be deployed this year.

The announcement came as SpaceX on Friday launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying 10 communications satellites.

In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that SpaceX was raising $500 million, taking its valuation to $30.5 billion.

The Hawthorne, California-based company had earlier outlined plans for a trip to Mars in 2022, to be followed by a manned mission to the red planet by 2024.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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