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Elon Musk Defends SpaceX Layoffs As Cost Cutting Exercise.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has defended the layoffs at his private rocket company SpaceX as salvaging "two insane projects" via cost reduction.  

In his Wednesday remarks during Tesla's investor call, Musk sought to distinguish the rationale of the staff reduction in both Tesla and Space X. On Tesla, Musk said the ( retrenchment became necessary "to be relentless about costs" with the broad aim to keep the electric vehicles affordable.

Two Insane projects

Regarding the layoffs in SpaceX, Musk mentioned the financial compulsions coming from the "two absolutely insane projects."

Starlink and Starship were the projects he was referring to.  Starlink is devoted to bringing global high-speed internet coverage via thousands of tiny satellites.  Starship is the giant rocket that SpaceX is building to send humans and cargo to Mars.

In early January, SpaceX announced shedding of 10 percent of the workforce. In a statement, SpaceX touched upon the compulsions in letting go 600 odd staff by outlining the difficult projects the company is striving to succeed. They are interplanetary spacecraft and a global space-based Internet project.

Defending the staff retrenchment at Space X, Musk argued that Starlink and Starship are projects that could drain the company and SpaceX need to be forward-looking by reducing costs.

"And so, SpaceX has to be incredibly spartan with expenditures until those programs reach fruition," Musk quipped. 

The success of Starlink is deemed vital in ensuring sustained cash flow to Space X for all its future endeavors. The project promises high-speed broadband internet anywhere in the world.

Starship project has already earned considerable traction after SpaceX got official nod to send 4,425 satellites into space. Two test satellites have already been launched by the company in February 2018.  

The second "insane project" is Starship, which is a massive rocket being built to send humans and cargo to Mars. The project faced a setback when a blaze blew out the top portion of the rocket. But Musk has played down the matter and claimed the damage is manageable with "a few weeks to repair."

Starship Raptor engine getting ready for test

Meanwhile, SpaceX is getting ( ready to test fire the Starship Raptor engine designed for future Mars missions. On Friday, Musk released some images of the ongoing work at the Boca Chica facility in Texas.

The ambitious rocket has been designed to use liquid oxygen and methane as propellant and marks a paradigm shift from the conventional Merlin engines used in Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. 

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Feb 1, 2019
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