SpaceX, the upstart rocket company has shaken up the launch industry with low-cost reusable boosters and ambitious long-range plans to carry people to Mars and beyond, plans to reduce its workforce by about 10 percent, company sources said late Friday.
The revelation came just hours after the California rocket builder10 Iridium communications satellites into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Airforce Base, California, in the first of 18 or so SpaceX [Planned Expenses]
"To be delivered to our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet, SpaceX must become a leaner company." "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 their commitment to SpaceX's mission.
SpaceX remains "financially strong" and looking forward to a busy year in space, including the first flight of Crew Dragon ferry ships NASA wants to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
The first unpiloted test flight of the crew is scheduled for next month with the astronauts tentatively targeted for mid-June.
In addition, two launches of the powerful three-core Falcon Heavy rockets are planned, along with the deployment of the company's first Starlink satellites, the first of more than 7,000 planned as part of a global space-based broadband constellation.
SpaceX officials say they are the most powerful in the world, capable of carrying humans to Mars and other deep space destinations
But paying for those ambitious plans will be a challenge. The Wall Street Journal reported in mid-November that SpaceX, founded by charismatic internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, had raised $ 250 million from its first high-yield loan sale.
Some investors, the newspaper reported, "expressed misgivings about the company's record
Mr. Musk, the founder and chief executive of SpaceX, said: "Other concerns include the company's large investment plans and its connection to Mr. Smith Tesla Inc., where he also is chief executive. "
NASA announced November 24 that it was implementing aof both SpaceX and Boeing, which is building its own space. The Washington Post reported the review, in part, because of concerns raised in the wake of a podcast in which Musk apparently smoked marijuana.
The Journal, citing industry sources, said SpaceX takes in about $ 2.5 billion a year. Profit margins "are constrained in part by a payroll of some 7,000 employees, the cost of operating three launch pads (two in Florida and one in California) and expenditures for developing a fourth site," the newspaper said. The company's website says the workforce numbers "6,000 +."
SpaceX has shaken up the global launch industry, undercutting the competition with Falcon 9 rockets starting at just $ 60 million, tens of millions less than other rockets in its class, and perfecting
SpaceX has launched 67 Falcon 9 rockets since 2010 Falcon Heavy, experiencing one in-flight failure in June 2015 and one on-the-fly explosion a year The rocket's second-stage liquid oxygen propellant tank.
Since the on-pad failure, SpaceX has successfully launched 40 rockets in a row, including Friday's flight, and recovered 33
The Pentagon has released the Falcon 9 for launching high-priority national security payloads and NASA relies on the company to deliver Supplies to the International Space Station aboard Dragon Cargo Ships.
SpaceX holds contracts valued at $ 3.04 billion for 20 space station resupply flights through next year, according to the Government Accountability Office. 2024.
SpaceX also holds a $ 2.6 billion NASA contract for an unspecified amount for at least six additional flights through 2024.