After a string of automobile companies announcing job cuts, Elon Musk’s SpaceX has announced its decision to lay off 10% of its 6,000 workforce.
"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 company said in a statement. "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," the company said. "This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary."
SpaceX has been doing relatively well in the rocket launch business, with reported revenues of roughly $2.5 billion annually, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, with fewer companies requiring fewer satellites to be launched and put into orbit, SpaceX says it is looking at becoming a more efficient operation. “The market is very soft. It was last year, this year, and I don’t know that it’s going to change dramatically next year, either,” SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said in September 2018, according to Space News.
SpaceX’s valuation put the company’s value at $30.5 billion as of December 2018. The company is working on two massive future projects – to use the technology to fly tourists to space, and developing a constellation of satellites that could one day beam high-speed internet down to the Earth. The company has made a headway on both projects and the satellite constellation is expected to cost about $10 billion to deploy. And Musk recently shared images of an operational model for Starship that he plans to use to conduct short "hop" test flights this year at a facility in Texas.