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SpaceX will lay off hundreds to ‘become a leaner company’

SpaceX plans to lay off approximately 10 percent of its workforce in order to manage its costs, the company confirmed to TechCrunch today. First reported by Ars Technica’s Eric Berger, the news comes as the company embarks on an ambitious plan to develop and test an interplanetary spacecraft while simultaneously performing frequent orbital launches.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch, SpaceX explained that the layoffs are in pursuit of becoming a “leaner company” and that they were only necessary due to “the 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 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. This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary.
The company employed at least 7,000 people in late 2017 when COO Gwynne Shotwell last gave a number — which means around 700 will lose their jobs.
I asked SpaceX for more information on where these jobs might come from — engineering, manufacturing, sales, certain projects, etc — but apart from the statement the company did not offer any answers.
Layoffs of this scale ring alarm bells pretty much across the board, but the company has insisted that it is solvent and successful. And indeed even if it were not, it is hard to imagine that its extremely successful and increasingly reliable Falcon 9 launch vehicle would cease operations any time soon. In fact one might expect launch numbers to increase with financial difficulties in order to increase revenue.

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