SpaceX announces layoffs
About 10 percent of employees cut ‘due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead’
Private space leader SpaceX plans to lay off about 10 percent of its more than 6,000 employees across the nation, the company said Friday.
The Hawthorne, Calif.-based company, which has a prominent presence on Central Florida’s Space Coast, said in a statement that the move would help the company reach its goals.
“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. Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organizations,” SpaceX said in a statement. “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.”
“This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary.”
The Los Angeles Times was first to break the news.
How many — if any — of the layoffs will be at Kennedy Space Center was unclear Friday evening.
No WARN notices, which are filed when a company plans to lay off at least 500 employees or 33 percent of staff, have yet been posted in Florida, California, Texas or Washington.
The news of the layoffs came after SpaceX’s first successful launch of 2019 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday morning. A Falcon 9 rocket was carrying 10 Iridium Communications satellites, the final set of satellites for Iridium, which is replacing its entire constellation.
The company broke its own record with 21 launches in 2018.
SpaceX has a number of major launches coming this year, too, including two of its mega Falcon Heavy rockets and the launch of its own satellites, Starlink, which are meant to provide high-speed broadband Internet across the globe.
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.
Also on the horizon for 2019 are test flights for SpaceX’s fully reusable, Mars-bound Starship and its Crew Dragon capsule, part of a contract funded by NASA to take astronauts to space from U.S. soil as early as this summer.
Crew Dragon is scheduled to have its uncrewed test flight from the Space Coast in February, before a crewed flight as early as June, and a Starship prototype also may begin test hops next month.
Earlier this month, SpaceX raised $273 million out of a planned $500 million round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Want more space news? Follow Go For Launch on Facebook. Contact the reporter at cher[email protected]landosentinel.com or 407-420-5660; Twitter @ChabeliH