SpaceX will lay off 10% of its workforce immediately following the successful launch of its first year – long rocket for satellite operator Iridium. The news, first reported by the Los Angeles Times and confirmed by SpaceX, suggests that the company is under some financial pressure as it tries to launch two ambitious projects.
More than 6000 people work at SpaceX, according to the company's website. It is not known which divisions of SpaceX could be affected. The company is facing a busy year: crew testing for flying astronauts to the International Space Station, launching two Falcon Heavies, deploying its first Starlink satellites and launching tests on its spacecraft bound for Mars.
More than 6000 people work at SpaceX
In a statement sent to The edge, SpaceX said:
To continue to offer our products to our customers and successfully develop interplanetary spacecraft and a global space Internet, SpaceX must become a lean business. Either or both of these developments, even when they were attempted separately, resulted in the bankruptcy of other organizations. That means we have to separate ourselves from some of the talented and hard-working members of our team. We are grateful for all they have accomplished and their commitment to SpaceX's mission. This action is taken only because of the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary.
The layoffs come as companies that put geostationary satellites into orbit required fewer launches. "The market is very soft. It was last year, this year, and I do not know if it will change drastically next year either, "said SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell in September, according to the same source. News from the space.
SpaceX generates approximately $ 2.5 billion in revenue a year, according to The Wall Street Journal, contracts with organizations like NASA and companies like Iridium. (The exact figures are not public – SpaceX is a private company.) Although Shotwell told CNBC in May that SpaceX had "many years of profitability," BloombergThe reports on the recent SpaceX loan suggest that the company was not profitable between September 2017 and September 2018.
Building rockets and new-generation launch systems, such as the future Mars-ready spacecraft and spacecraft capable of flying human beings, is not an inexpensive enterprise. SpaceX has contracted its first loan of $ 250 million last year and could be raising $ 500 million in equity, according to the same source. The Wall Street Journal.
The company is also exploring new sources of liquidity, such as its contract with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. Space tourism could be a significant source of revenue for SpaceX as it continues to attract millions and billionaires to its new spacecraft. But to do this, it seems that the company must ensure that it has sufficient resources to begin to take off these vehicles.
With reportage of Elizabeth Lopatto