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Elon Musk says in a leaked email that SpaceX is facing a 'risk of bankruptcy.'

 



Elon Musk, SpaceX's CEO, detailed a critical situation regarding the company's rocket engine production over the weekend. Production issues appear to be jeopardizing Musk's Starship and Starlink satellite internet services, and Musk acknowledges the possibility of bankruptcy if these issues are not resolved.

 

According to a Thanksgiving companywide email leaked to CNBC and Space Explored this week, the Raptor engine manufacturing crisis is worse than Musk anticipated. The SpaceX executive ultimately canceled his planned Thanksgiving vacation, requesting that all hands be on deck to repair what he refers to as a "disaster."

 

The issue appears to be whether SpaceX can maintain sufficient engine production to support the satellite launches required for its Starlink internet service. Raptor engines were developed by SpaceX to power its "Starship" rockets. The company intends to use Starship for a lunar mission in 2023 and eventually for human missions to Mars. However, its immediate objective is to use Starship to launch the Starlink satellites.

 

Musk explains in the email that SpaceX is increasing production of the terminals customers of Starlink will use to access the internet. SpaceX's plans to build millions of units per year will consume "massive capital" and will be ineffective unless the company can place a sufficient number of satellites into orbit.

 

"What this means is that if we do not achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year, we face a genuine risk of bankruptcy," Musk wrote.

 

CNBC reported last week that two SpaceX vice presidents in charge of rocket production had left the company. According to sources, SpaceX Vice President of Propulsion Will Heltsley was removed from Raptor development due to a lack of progress. Lee Rosen, SpaceX's Vice President of Mission and Launch Operations, and Ricky Lim, SpaceX's Senior Director of Mission and Launch Operations, also left in November. All three had worked for the company for several years.

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