Elon Musk shows off prototype of Mars-bound rocket, Starship

Elon Musk shares prototype of SpaceX Starship

The company issued a statement Friday evening in which it 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 company earns tens of millions of dollars per launch. The company said it will "part ways" with some of its manpower, citing "extraordinarily hard challenges ahead".

Others said the sleek design and prominent fins closely resemble spaceships depicted in 1950s/60s films, Wallace and Gromit and even Toy Story.

The Los Angeles Times reported the job cuts earlier on Friday. "This means we must part ways with some talented and hardworking members of our team".

SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted photos of the company's new Starship Hopper test flight rocket recently. Musk reportedly fired at least seven people last summer over disagreements about the performance speed of the company's Starlink satellite programme; all were reported to have been senior management staffers.

The first launch of that capsule, without a crew, is planned for February. In a tweet last week, Musk said test flights of the prototype for a Mars-bound spacecraft would be happening in the next four to eight weeks.

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SpaceX is now preparing to launch astronauts to the International Space Station through a contract with NASA - after years of uncrewed re-supply missions to the agency's space station.

SpaceX plans to use the technology to fly tourists to space and, potentially, one day send humans to Mars.

In a statement late January 11, the company confirmed that SpaceX is laying off a portion of its workforce in the first large-scale reduction of its workforce since the company was founded in 2002.

Previously, the private space company said that it has been profitable for years, thanks to the lucrative contracts that it struck from clients that include the US Air Force and NASA.

SpaceX has also embarked on a mission to beam internet services to Earth around the globe through a network of satellites dubbed Starlink, the first set of which will be deployed this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that the rocket company was planning to raise the funds at a $30.5 billion valuation.

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