SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell and CEO Elon Musk choked up breaking bad news about layoffs at an all-hands meeting in Hawthorne, California, last Friday, according to three people who attended or viewed the meeting via video.
Musk and Shotwell acknowledged that the broad restructuring at SpaceX meant the company would have to lay off some employees with whom they'd rather not part ways. The company still employs about 6,400 people, according to two people who were laid off.
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."
The layoffs come as SpaceX is gunning to become a powerhouse in telecommunications and transforming the business of aerospace with promises of re-usable rockets and engines. It is in the midst of raising a targeted $500 million round of venture funding that would value the company at $30.5 billion, making it one of the most valuable start-ups in the world. The company is aiming to run its first cargo mission to Mars by 2022, and to send humans there in a 2024 mission.