Elon Musk says ongoing ‘crisis’ could bankrupt SpaceX

A worried Elon Musk emailed SpaceX staff on Black Friday about a “production crisis” that he said put the company in dire straits.

The email was first obtained by Space Explored, then CNBC and The Verge, and details a litany of woes delaying production of the Raptor engine, an integral component of high-profile Starship rockets.

“Sadly, Raptor’s production crisis is a lot worse than it seemed a few weeks ago,” Musk wrote in Friday’s email, detailing issues that “turned out to be far more so. serious than what had been reported “.

He outlined the financial concerns regarding the development of the engine and its effects on the manufacture of the Starship and Starlink broadband Internet satellites.

“There is no way to water it down,” he added.

Musk also noted that despite intending to take a weekend off, his “first weekend off in a long time,” but promised to work through the night and through the weekend.

He also asked SpaceX employees to do the same, “unless [they] have critical family issues or cannot physically return to Hawthorne, ”where SpaceX is located.

Much is at stake for Musk and SpaceX after a momentous 2021. Earlier this year, SpaceX was awarded a nearly $ 3 billion contract from NASA to use Starship on the Artemis III moon landing mission, triggering legal action against Jeff Bezos’ company, Blue Origin. . CNBC also reported that Musk had promised a Starship orbital flight early next year.

“In summary, we face a real risk of bankruptcy if we cannot achieve a Starship theft rate of at least once every two weeks next year,” the email concluded.

But for what it’s worth, Space Explored, which broke the news, said not to take “the mention of Elon’s bankruptcy at face value”, and instead described the panic as Musk’s desire to lobby. on its employees so that they continue on an “ambitious path”. . “Only time will tell if this assessment is appropriate.

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