SpaceX is laying off 10 per cent of its 6,000-person workforce as it tackles two hugely expensive projects, the company said.
“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 Elon Musk-owned company said in the statement on Friday.
“Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organisations. 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.”
SpaceX has a booming business conducting uncrewed resupply trips to the International Space Station (ISS) through contracts with NASA.
The company also delivers satellites to orbit through contracts with the US military and commercial firms.
SpaceX, along with competitor Boeing, are supposed to start flying astronauts to the ISS for NASA sometime this year.
SpaceX was recently valued at $30.5 billion after initiating a $500 million equity sale in December. The company also took on about $250 million in debt last year in its first loan sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But SpaceX’s new products are expected to cost billions to develop.
In September, Musk estimated SpaceX would spend between $2 billion and $10 billion developing an ultra-powerful spaceship and rocket system, recently renamed Starship and Super Heavy.
SpaceX also plans to use the technology to fly tourists to space and, potentially, one day send humans to Mars, CNN said.
SpaceX is developing a constellation of satellites that could one day beam high-speed internet down to the Earth.