SpaceX showed Starship prototype and cut 10% of staff

Published on January 13, 2019

SpaceX showed Starship prototype and cut 10% of staff

    Citing the need for savings, on January 11, SpaceX announced a reduction of approximately 10% of the current 6,000 employees. The reduction was announced in an email to employees from President Gwynn Shotwell, which was made available to the LA Times . “This is a very difficult, but necessary decision,” it says.

    "In order to continue customer service and succeed in the development of interplanetary spacecraft and the global space Internet, SpaceX should become a more compact company," the statement said. - Any of these events, even when they were undertaken separately, bankrupted other organizations. This means that we have to part with some talented and hardworking members of our team. ”

    In the illustration: on January 11, Ilon Mask published the first photo of a prototype of a heavy rocket carrier Starship (BFR)

    Even with the increase in the number of launches of SpaceX satellites - 21 launches in 2018, compared with 18 launches a year earlier, it sometimes reduced staff. Last summer, the company sacked several senior managers in Redmond, Wash., Due to disagreements over the pace of development and testing of its Starlink satellite program. In 2014, there was also a staff reduction of 10% .


    SpaceX spacesuit and Dragon 2 capsule

    SpaceX earns most of its money on launching commercial satellites and satellites for national security, as well as on two NASA contracts: one multi-billion dollar contract for the delivery of cargo to the International Space Station and the other up to $ 2.6 billion for capsule development , which will deliver astronauts to the space station (pictured above and below). The first launch of the capsule without a crew is scheduled for February 2019.


    The interior of the spacecraft Dragon. Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

    On January 11, 2019, Ilon Mask tweeted the first photo of a heavy carrier rocket Starship (formerly BFR), which will be used for flights to the Moon and Mars. The picture was taken at the spaceport in Texas. This is a real photo of the second stage, and not a picture generated on a computer.


    “We just completed the assembly of a prototype Starship rocket at the SpaceX space center in Texas,” wrote Musk. “This is a real image, not a rendering.” The authenticity of the prototype was confirmed by random people who drove past the SpaceX cosmodrome in Texas. Some of them made a selfie on the background of the rocket.


    The company, led by Ilona Mask, has ambitious and expensive plans. Musk said that in early February, SpaceX will conduct the first hopper test of a prototype Martian spacecraft. The production of this ship and the rocket will cost him billions of dollars.

    The body of the Starship rocket is made of stainless steel - high-strength, but very heavy material. According to Mask, stainless steel is more resistant to extreme temperatures, which makes it more suitable for missiles of this type. This prototype Starship is designed for test suborbital flights that will begin in March, and the orbital version will be higher, with a thicker shell and a more smoothly curved nose fairing. Its launch is scheduled for 2020.

    Starship is the new name of the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) launch system. It consists of a spacecraft and a rocket booster. The system will be able to put up to 100 tons of payload into orbit, it also implies repeated use. According to the mask, in the end, Starship should replace Falcon 9 and will be able to serve all missions in the orbits of Earth, Moon and Mars.

    SpaceX recently announced an additional investment of about $ 273 million. The total value of the company is about $ 31 billion, according to Equidate, which tracks the assessments of private companies.

    In May 2018, in an interview with Shotwell, she told CNBC that the company was profitable and had a margin of profit "for many years."

    According to the mailing list from the executive director, SpaceX offers to dismissed employees a retirement benefit of at least eight weeks and other benefits. The company will also assist in finding new jobs, advice and recommendations for resumes.