SpaceX an­nounces lay­offs

Orlando Sentinel - - LOCAL & STATE - By Cha­beli Her­rera

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

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