In a major shakeup at Elon Musk’s aerospace company, SpaceX announced Friday that it will cut 10 percent of its employees.
Behind the move is a planned realignment of its workforce in order to meet its long-term business goals. However, it will mean a significant hit for its current labor pool, which numbers roughly 6,000 people.
In a statement, a SpaceX spokesperson told HuffPost the reduction in staff was needed so that the company could set itself up for future successes.
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. 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.
One of SpaceX’s major goals, as alluded to in its statement, has been to send tourists into space, potentially even landing humans on Mars with a project called Starship. In September, it was revealed that Japanese entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa would be among the first passengers on the company’s voyage to the moon, which is expected to take off in 2023.
SpaceX has also embarked on a mission to beam internet services to Earth around the globe through a network of satellites dubbed Starlink, the first set of which will be deployed this year.
Despite the staffing cuts, the company has expressed confidence in its financial standing and its investors, and it plans to launch two missions of its Falcon Heavy rockets along with starting test hops of Starship before year’s end.
On Friday morning, SpaceX marked its first mission of 2019 with the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California.