SpaceX is slimming down its workforce. The Los Angeles Times reports that Elon Musk’s space launch company will be laying off 10 percent of 6,000 person staff. The news comes after the company unveiled plans of ambitious projects last year that will advance the company’s plans to eventually transport human beings to the stars. They are also creating a network of satellites that might deliver high-speed internet from space at some point in the future. In a statement, the company said that it needed to become “leaner” in order to make these plans a reality.
“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 statement read. “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.”
According to the LA Times, Elon Musk claims that SpaceX will be ready to test its Mars prototype spaceship next month. So, these interplanetary travel innovations definitely look to be on the top of the mind for the company.
Musk has long said that taking human beings to Mars is his ultimate goal for SpaceX.
As Business Insider reports, last year he said that there’s a “70 percent chance” that he’ll personally visit the red planet during his lifetime.
But he pushed back on the idea of space travel as nothing but a means for extremely rich people to “escape” Earth, pointing out that living on Mars won’t be easy.
“Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than earth,” he said to Axios, as reported by Business Insider. “It’s gonna be hard. There’s a good chance of death, going in a little (sic) can through deep space.”
— CNN (@CNN) January 12, 2019
SpaceX’s technology for space tourism is expected to cost billions of dollars and the LA Times reports that one of the ways they’ve been funding it is by selling early flights to an elite group of very rich people. If you want a seat on their rocket ship, you have to pay a downpayment upfront and Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has done just that. Maezawa, an e-commerce mogul, has not revealed how much he paid, but his flight around the moon is scheduled for 2023.
“I trust his company, his team and his BFR,” Maezawa said of Musk at the announcement of his space trip in September of last year. BFR stands for Big Falcon Rocket, which is the vessel that’s being built to take tourists into space. SpaceX has since renamed it to Starship, Space reports.