SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in an email to his company’s employees asked them to work over the weekend on SpaceX’s Raptor engine as the company faces “genuine risk of bankruptcy” unless it speeds up the production.
In the email, Musk revealed that the company faces a “genuine risk of bankruptcy” if production does not increase to support a high flight rate of the company’s new Starship rocket next year, reports The Verge.
“Unfortunately, the Raptor production crisis is much worse than it had seemed a few weeks ago,” Musk reportedly wrote.
“As we have dug into the issues following the exiting of prior senior management, they have unfortunately turned out to be far more severe than was reported. There is no way to sugarcoat this.”
Raptor’s engine is a critical component of Starship, which SpaceX hopes will one-day transport cargo and people to the moon and Mars.
Musk also revealed that instead of taking the weekend off as planned, he was going to be working on the Raptor all night and over the weekend. He then asked employees without “critical family matters” to work too, saying it was time for all hands on deck.
“The consequences for SpaceX if we can’t get enough reliable Raptors made is that we then can’t fly Starship, which means we then can’t fly Starlink Satellite V2 (Falcon has neither the volume *nor* the mass to orbit needed for satellite V2). Satellite V1 by itself is financially weak, whereas V2 is strong,” Musk added.
Earlier this month Musk had said he expected Starship to be launched into orbit for the first time as early as January, providing regulatory approvals were given by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).
SpaceX has raised billions in funding over the past several years, both for Starship and its satellite internet project Starlink.