The firm announced that it would be parting ways with approximately 600 of its employees because of the "extraordinarily hard challenges ahead".
Musk said in a statement: "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". This week he unveiled a steel-clad test flight prototype of the rocket, which he calls Starship. SpaceX has since confirmed the news, saying in a statement that it must get "leaner" in order to achieve its goals - ones that, it said, "have bankrupted other organizations". Employees hit by the layoffs will be offered "a minimum of eight weeks' pay and other benefits", the Times said, citing Shotwell's email to staff. However, the launch and satellite initiatives the company is pursuing will each require several billion dollars to complete.
No astronauts will be on board for this demonstration mission, but this is the first launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon, a spacecraft that will soon transport astronauts to the International Space Station. SpaceX reportedly plans to launch the starship to suborbital heights to prove the viability of its systems. "This is probably one of the most challenging - if not the most challenging - projects we've undertaken", Shotwell said.
This work is taking place at both SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and the company's test site in South Texas, near the border city of Brownsville, where the first flights will take place.
That same month, the Elon Musk-led company plans a "hopper test" of its Mars spaceship prototype, which is being assembled in south Texas.
The Starlink project is set to compete with Canada's Telesat and OneWeb to become the first to market with a new satellite-based internet service.
Still, the announcement came as SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday, carrying 10 communications satellites.