SpaceX is making 10% of its workforce redundant – with the tech company saying it needs to become “leaner” if it is to accomplish ambitious projects such as creating a spaceship that can carry astronauts to Mars.
About 600 of the firm’s 6,000-strong workforce are being laid off, with the company blaming “extraordinary difficult challenges ahead” for its decision.
The layoffs were announced to workers in an email from SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a statement, SpaceX said: “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.
“This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team.”
SpaceX is financially healthy and was recently valued at $30bn (£23bn). However, it has several expensive projects in the works – including a launch from California on Friday.
The company is also delivering supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).
Elon Musk, who heads the company, believes it will cost $10bn (£7.7bn) to develop a spaceship which could send people to Mars.
He unveiled a steel-clad test flight prototype of the rocket, called Starship, this week.
Another $10bn (£7.7bn) project called Starlink would create a constellation of satellites to provide affordable broadband internet service.
In November, the company won authorisation from US officials to put nearly 12,000 satellites into orbit.
SpaceX makes most of its money from multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA and satellite launches.
Laid-off employees are going to be offered at least eight weeks’ pay and other benefits, along with help in finding new employment.