SpaceX to lay off 10% of its workers

SpaceX is laying off 10% of its 6,000-person workforce as it tackles two hugely expensive projects.El...

Posted: Jan 12, 2019 2:15 PM
Updated: Jan 12, 2019 2:15 PM

SpaceX is laying off 10% of its 6,000-person workforce as it tackles two hugely expensive projects.

Elon Musk's rocket company said its finances are healthy, but that it needs to make cuts so its most ambitious plans can succeed.

Aviation and aerospace industry

Business and industry sectors

Business figures

Business, economy and trade

Companies

Elon Musk

Labor and employment

Space and astronomy

Space industry

Spacecraft and satellites

SpaceX

Workers and professionals

"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. "Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organizations. This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team."

"We are grateful for everything they have accomplished and their commitment to SpaceX's mission," the company said. "This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary."

The layoffs were reported earlier Friday by the Los Angeles Times.

SpaceX has a booming business conducting uncrewed resupply trips to the International Space Station through contracts with NASA. The company also delivers satellites to orbit through contracts with the US military and commercial firms. SpaceX, along with competitor Boeing, are supposed to start flying astronauts to the ISS for NASA sometime this year.

The company earns tens of millions of dollars per launch. SpaceX was recently valued at $30.5 billion after initiating a $500 million equity sale in December. The company also took on about $250 million in debt last year in its first loan sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But SpaceX's new products are expected to cost billions to develop.

In September, Musk estimated SpaceX would spend between $2 billion and $10 billion developing an ultra-powerful spaceship and rocket system, recently renamed Starship and Super Heavy.

SpaceX plans to use the technology to fly tourists to space and, potentially, one day send humans to Mars. Musk said last year that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa made a "non-trivial" — but undisclosed — deposit to one day take himself and six to eight artists on a trip around the moon. Musk predicted that trip could occur as soon as 2023.

SpaceX is also developing a constellation of satellites that could one day beam high-speed internet down to the Earth. SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said during a TED Talk last year that she expects the satellite constellation to cost about $10 billion to deploy.

The company has already made headway on both projects.

Two Starlink demo satellites were deployed last year, and SpaceX intends to deploy the first operational satellites — to eventually join a constellation of thousands — sometime in 2019.

And Musk recently shared images of an operational model for Starship that he plans to use to conduct short "hop" test flights this year at a facility in Texas.

Article Comments

Mason City
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 51°
Albert Lea
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 52°
Austin
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 55°
Charles City
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 55°
Rochester
Broken Clouds
58° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 58°
Cooler temperatures drop the next few days
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

The end of "Garage of Goodness"

Image

Tree tour in Rochester

Image

Breaking news: Structure fire

Image

Changes coming to the heart of the city

Image

Kid hit by car: Surveillance video

Image

Closing up crop

Image

Chris' PM Weather Forecast

Image

Republican rally in Forest City

Image

Helping Juveniles Stay on the Straight and Narrow

Image

Tee it Up for the Troops

Community Events