Cuts propel SpaceX staff on a journey into the unknown
Elon Musk’s company plans a round of layoffs which could involve 10% of its workforce
They are truly lost in space. On Friday, the high-profile SpaceX company announced plans to lay off staff to “succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft.”
Founded by Elon Musk, the brains behind electric auto group Tesla, the redundancies could involve 10% of the more than 6,000 employees at SpaceX, according to a source familiar with the decision.
“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 California-based company, headed by Elon Musk, said in a statement to AFP.
“Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organizations,” it added. “This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team.”
The decision to trim down was “only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead,” SpaceX pointed out.
Citing an email sent to employees, the Los Angeles Times reported that the company was offering those affected a minimum of eight weeks’ pay and other benefits, including career coaching and resume assistance.
Still, the announcement came as SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday, carrying 10 communications satellites.
Founded by Musk, SpaceX makes most of its money from multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA and satellite launches.
In November, it won authorization from US officials to put nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit in order to boost cheap, wireless internet access by the 2020s.
– reporting by AFP