SpaceX to fire 10% of staff, bracing for ‘extraordinarily difficult times ahead’ – report

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket © Global Look Press / Gene Blevins / Free

Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX is going to slash its nearly 6,000-stong workforce by 10 percent in an effort to become “leaner,” the company said in a statement cited by media.

“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,” an email from the company president and chief operating officer, Gwynne Shotwell, read, according to the Los Angeles Times. “This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary,” it reportedly added.

However, there are more than 400 open positions in various fields at different SpaceX facilities, judging by the company’s website. 

It is believed the layoffs would affect around 600 employees, who would receive a minimum of eight weeks’ pay and other benefits, while the company also promised to assist with career coaching and job searching.

The job cut announcement coincided with the first SpaceX mission of the year on Friday, as a Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched 10 Iridium satellites to low-Earth orbit. In December, it launched its first US national security space mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida. SpaceX also has several ambitious and hugely expensive projects in the works, including a spaceship of up to $10 billion.

At the end of last year, SpaceX valuation rose to $30.5 billion after initiating a $500 million equity sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In October, Elon Musk reportedly fired 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. 

Another Musk-funded company, Tesla, announced a “difficult, but necessary” reorganization in June. It reduced nine percent of its workforce, thus removing several thousand jobs across the company in cost reduction measures. 

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