SpaceX announces layoffs due to 'difficult challenges ahead'

SpaceX's prototype starship is being called

In annoying the layoffs, SpaceX cited "extraordinarily hard challenges ahead" in achieving its twin goals of developing interplanetary spacecraft as well as establishing a space-based Internet platform. However, the launch and satellite initiatives the company is pursuing will each require several billion dollars to complete.

About 600 of the firm's 6,000-strong workforce are being laid off, with the company blaming "extraordinary hard challenges ahead" for its decision.

"Either of these developments, even when attempted separately, have bankrupted other organisations".

The Los Angeles Times was first to break the news. "This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team", the company said.

Under the Commercial Crew Program, NASA and industry partners prepare for the next generation of American spacecraft that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station from here, the Space Coast of Florida.

Elon Musk's Space X company is financially healthy and was recently valued at almost U.S. $30 billion. As part of its effort to fund its highly expensive programmes in the coming years, the company raised an estimated $250 million (£194 million) in its first loan sale, the Wall Street Journal reported in November.

According to Ars, one industry source suggested that this might also be a way for SpaceX chief Elon Musk to let some of the company's lower performing employees go.

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Musk has estimated it will cost up to USA $10 billion to develop a spaceship that could send humans to Mars.

SpaceX is also developing a constellation of satellites that could one day beam high-speed internet down to the Earth.

SpaceX Chief Operating Officer, Gwynne Shotwell, said in a TED Talk a year ago that she expects deploying Starlink constellation satellites to cost $10 billion or more.

The company has already made headway on both projects.

SpaceX launched its first rocket of 2019 early Friday.

Back in September, Musk revealed the new design of the Big Falcon Rocket, now simply called Starship, and confessed he wanted to emulate the design of the comic book rocket.

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