Elon Musk: SpaceX faces “genuine risk of bankruptcy” due to crisis with Starship engine
Things appear not to be going well at SpaceX after a company-wide email from Elon Musk was made public. According to a copy of the email which was obtained by CNBC, Musk wrote that “The Raptor production crisis is much worse than it seemed a few weeks ago.”
The email, which was sent the day after Thanksgiving, shows that Musk is angry with the lack of progress SpaceX has made in developing the Raptor engines that power its Starship rocket. Musk described a dire situation in the email sent to all SpaceX employees. Musk added that SpaceX faces “genuine risk of bankruptcy if we cannot achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year.”
The situation is so dire that Musk said he would personally work on the engine production line through Friday night and into the weekend after discovering the Raptor situation. He wrote in the email that he planned to take the long Thanksgiving holiday off.
“We need all hands on deck to recover from what is, quite frankly, a disaster,” Musk wrote.
What’s unclear from Musk’s email is his statement that faces “genuine risk of bankruptcy” given that SpaceX added $314 million in April to its previous round of $850 million, pushing the new total equity raised to $1.16 billion at a valuation of $74 billion. It could also mean that SpaceX is burning through a lot of money.
CNBC further noted that Musk’s email to SpaceX employees “provides more context to the significance of the departure of former Vice President of Propulsion Will Heltsley earlier this month.”
Starship is the next-generation rocket being developed by SpaceX to launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. At the 2020 Mars Society Virtual Convention, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reveals the SpaceX Starship launch plan to Mars by 2024.
“I think we’ve got a fighting chance,” Musk said of making the 2024 Mars transport window. Musk said he hopes to soon use Starship to launch people to the moon and Mars.