SpaceX to lay off 10 per­cent of work­force

The Sun Herald (Sunday) - - Obituaries & News -

HAWTHORNE, CALIF.

SpaceX will lay off 10 per­cent of its roughly 6,000 work­ers, an­nounc­ing that it needs to be­come leaner to ac­com­plish am­bi­tious projects such as cre­at­ing a space­ship that can carry as­tro­nauts to Mars.

“This ac­tion is taken only due to the ex­traor­di­nar­ily dif­fi­cult chal­lenges ahead and would not oth­er­wise be nec­es­sary,” the com­pany said Fri­day in a state­ment.

The lay­offs were an­nounced to work­ers in an email from Pres­i­dent Gwynne Shotwell, the Los An­ge­les Times re­ported. The email said laid-off em­ploy­ees will be of­fered at least eight weeks’ pay and other ben­e­fits, along with help with find­ing new jobs, the Times said.

Elon Musk’s com­pany is fi­nan­cially healthy and was re­cently val­ued at nearly $30 bil­lion. It has a lu­cra­tive busi­ness send­ing gov­ern­ment and com­mer­cial satel­lites into or­bit, in­clud­ing a launch from Cal­i­for­nia on Fri­day, and de­liv­er­ing sup­plies to the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion.

But the com­pany has sev­eral ex­pen­sive projects in the works. Musk has es­ti­mated it will cost up to $10 bil­lion to de­velop a space­ship that could send hu­mans to Mars. This week he un­veiled a steel­clad test flight pro­to­type of the rocket, which he calls Star­ship.

An­other $10 bil­lion project called Star­link would cre­ate a con­stel­la­tion of satel­lites to pro­vide af­ford­able broad­band in­ter­net ser­vice.

This year, the com­pany plans to be­gin Star­ship test flights and to launch the first Star­link satel­lites.

“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 state­ment said. “Ei­ther of these devel­op­ments, even when at­tempted sep­a­rately, have bankrupted other or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

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