SpaceX announced Friday evening that it would lay off 10 percent of its workforce, a significant setback for the hard-charging company founded by Elon Musk.
The move comes as the California-based company, which employs more than 6,000 people, is pulled in many directions. It is on the verge of launching NASA’s astronauts, building a new rocket known as Starship that it hopes will be able to carry people to deep space and launching a constellation of satellites that would beam the Internet down to remote areas.
“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 company said in a statement. “This action is taken only due to the extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead and would not otherwise be necessary.”
The move comes a few months after the Air Force awarded lucrative contracts to several of SpaceX’s competitors to help them develop their rockets. SpaceX was not awarded one of the contracts.