Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Elon Musk's SpaceX to cut 10% of staff amid 'difficult challenges'

Elon Musk's SpaceX to cut 10% of staff amid 'difficult challenges'

Founded by Elon Musk, the brains behind electric auto group Tesla, the redundancies could involve 10% of the more than 6,000 employees at SpaceX, according to a source familiar with the decision.

The Starship is SpaceX's new class of super-heavy launch vehicle that will replace the company's current crop of products, and will allow for potential missions around the Moon and to Mars. SpaceX has since confirmed the news, saying in a statement that it must get "leaner" in order to achieve its goals - ones that, it said, "have bankrupted other organizations".

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

The layoffs were announced to workers in an email from SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, the Los Angeles Times reported. "This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily hard challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary", it reportedly added.

Word of the reductions came just hours after SpaceX executed its first Falcon 9 rocket launch of the year, putting 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into low Earth orbit, and a day after Musk hailed the assembly of a subscale test prototype for SpaceX's interplanetary Starship spacecraft.

"Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site".

But the company has several expensive projects in the works.

No astronauts will be on board for this demonstration mission, but this is the first launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon, a spacecraft that will soon transport astronauts to the International Space Station.

Last summer, the company fired some senior managers at the company's Redmond, Washington, office, because of disagreements over the pacing of the development and testing of its Starlink satellite programme.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the company planned to raise $500 million in funding, pushing its value to $30.5 billion.

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