Elon Musk: SpaceX faces possible bankruptcy because of engine woes
by Clyde Hughes
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 30, 2021
SpaceX founder Elon Musk told his employees the space company faces a "genuine risk of bankruptcy" because of its struggles in developing its engine for its Starship flights.
In an email obtained by the website Space Explored, Musk called the company's struggle with its Raptor engine production at its base in Boca Chica, Texas, a "crisis." The Starship is a hulking space vehicle created to deliver goods and people to the moon and eventually Mars.
"What it comes down to, is that we face a genuine risk of bankruptcy if we can't achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year," Musk said in the email.
Musk canceled a scheduled break he planned to take during Thanksgiving to address the Raptor engine issue.
"Unfortunately, the Raptor production crisis is much worse than it had seemed a few weeks ago," Musk said. "As we have dug into the issues following the exiting of prior senior management, they have unfortunately turned out to be far more severe than was reported. There is no way to sugarcoat this."
Last week, SpaceX's vice president of propulsion Will Hetsley left the company after he was removed from the Raptor engine project for lack of progress, CNBC reported. Musk recently said that a "complete design overall" of the engine was necessary."
On Nov. 17, Musk said he hoped SpaceX would conduct its first orbital flight of the Starship in January or February, pending regulatory approval by the Federal Aviation Administration as well as ironing out technical issues.
SpaceX has a lot riding on the line with the engines. It recently beat out Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin for a $2.9 billion NASA contract and has a valuation of more than $100 billion while employing 7,000 people.
Musk says first orbital flight for Moon rocket in early 2022
Washington (AFP) Nov 18, 2021
Elon Musk said Wednesday that the Starship developed by his company SpaceX and selected by NASA for the Americans' return to the Moon would attempt its first orbital flight early next year. "We'll do a bunch of tests in December and hopefully launch in January," Musk said in a talk for the National Academies Space Studies Board. "There's a lot of risk associated with this first launch," he said. "So I would not say that it is likely to be successful, but I think we will make a lot of progress." ... read more
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