SpaceX Announces Plan to Lay Off 10 Percent of Its Workforce

Elon Musk's company cites “extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead" as reason for the job cuts.

Falcon Heavy
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rests on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on February 5, 2018, ahead of its demonstration mission. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Billionaire Elon Musk’s rockets have been flying high of late, but his rocket company, SpaceX, anticipates some future trouble down on planet Earth. As a result, it will soon lay off roughly 10 percent of its workforce, leaving the company with around 6,000 employees.

In annoying the layoffs, SpaceX cited “extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead” in achieving its twin goals of developing interplanetary spacecraft as well as establishing a space-based Internet platform. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said in an email that the company remains financially strong, but was taking this step toward streamlining its workforce as a premeditated move.

The company already has an ambitious 2019 planned. This month, it was scheduled to test launch Crew Dragon, which will be its vehicle for delivering NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. The test has since been pushed back, but if it’s eventually successful, it could begin ferrying crew to the ISS by the end of 2019. In addition, SpaceX plans its first deployment of its Starlink satellites this year, which will be the key infrastructure for its space-based Internet project.


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