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

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

First reported by the Los Angeles Times, SpaceX's Gwynne Shotwell sent an email to employees about the downsizing saying it was a "difficult but necessary" decision.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A, is undergoing a series of tests and checks before blast off on its first orbital test flight, now set for January 17.

"Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organisations". One of the company's most recent launches involved sending a cargo capsule to the International Space Station.

"We are grateful for everything they have accomplished and their commitment to SpaceX's mission", the company continued.

It added that the trim down was "only due to the extraordinarily hard challenges ahead".

NASA might still be waiting for its first real test of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft - which was recently pushed back into February for unspecified reasons - but that's not the only spacecraft SpaceX has been working on.

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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.

Musk posted pictures on Twitter of the Starship Hopper prototype, which awaits its first flight test in Texas in the coming weeks. SpaceX also has several ambitious and hugely expensive projects in the works, including a spaceship of up to $10 billion.

Elon Musk said last September that he expects the development of the Super Heavy and Starship (an ultra-powerful fully-reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system) to cost between $2 billion and $10 billion.

And The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the company was raising USD500 million from investors to help launch its satellite internet service.

Assuming that the company now employs more than 6,000 people, a 10 percent cut would amount to 600 jobs.

SpaceX Chief Operating Officer, Gwynne Shotwell, said in a TED Talk past year that she expects deploying Starlink constellation satellites to cost $10 billion or more.

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