News World Elon Musk blames ‘extraordinarily difficult challenges’ for mass layoffs of SpaceX workers
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Elon Musk blames ‘extraordinarily difficult challenges’ for mass layoffs of SpaceX workers

An artist's impression of the SpaceX BFR rocket heading for space. Photo: Getty
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Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX will reduce its workforce by about 10 per cent of the company’s more than 6000 employees, it said on Friday.

The company said it will “part ways” with some of its manpower, citing “extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead.”

“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 organisations”, a spokesman said in an email.

In June, Elon Musk fired at least seven people in the senior management team leading a SpaceX satellite launch project, Reuters reported in November. The firings were related to disagreements over the pace at which the team was developing and testing its Starlink satellites.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded
SpaceX recently put a US military satellite into orbit, but not all launches – like this ill-starred FalconX — go according to plan. Photo: Getty

The Starlink program is competing with OneWeb and Canada’s Telesat to be the first to market with a new satellite-based internet service.

Elon Musk Tesla
The SpaceX sackings are the latest blow to Elon Musk’s empire. Photo: AP

The management shakeup involved Musk bringing in new managers from SpaceX headquarters in California to replace a number of the managers he fired in Seattle.

Last month, SpaceX launched its first US national security space mission, when one of its rockets carrying a US military navigation satellite blasted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral.

In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that SpaceX was raising $US500 million ($A692 million), taking its valuation to $US30.5 billion.

The Hawthorne, California-based company had earlier outlined plans for a trip to Mars in 2022, to be followed by a manned mission to the red planet by 2024.

Another Elon Musk company, electric car maker Tesla Inc , said in June it was cutting nine per cent of its workforce by removing several thousand jobs across the company in cost-reduction measures.

-with AAP