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Musk says the Starship engine production crisis creates a “real bankruptcy risk” for SpaceX and “is much worse than it looked”

Posted: Nov 30, 2021 21:25 GMT

“We need everyone to pitch in to recover from what is, frankly, a disaster,” the businessman wrote in an email addressed to SpaceX employees.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described in an email sent last week to company employees the desperate situation in which the development of Raptor engines finds itself, that power the Starship spacecraft.

“The Raptor production crisis is much worse than it looked a few weeks ago,” the billionaire said in the note, a copy of which was obtained Monday by CNBC. “We face a real risk of bankruptcy if we cannot achieve a Starship rate of at least one every two weeks next year, “he stressed.

Starship is a huge next-generation spacecraft that SpaceX is developing to send cargo and people on missions to the Moon and Mars. The aerospace company is testing prototypes at a South Texas facility and has conducted several short test flights. However, to move on to orbital launches, prototypes will need up to 39 Raptor engines each, which will require a strong increase in production.

“It is, frankly, a disaster”

Additionally, the email provides more information on the departure of former propulsion vice president Will Heltsley, who left the company in early November. As reported by the media, Heltsley had been cut off from the development of the Raptor engines before their departure; Musk noted that company management has since been investigating problems with the program and found that the circumstances “are much more serious” than previously thought.

Elon Musk publishes a new photo of the Raptor 2 engine and says it will have 5.4 tons of thrust at takeoff

The businessman wrote that, after discovering the situation of the Raptors, he decided to personally work on the production line of the engines during the night of last Friday and the weekend. “We need everyone to pitch in to recover from what it is, frankly, a disaster“, he stressed.

He also noted that the success of the Raptor engine program is also critical to the long-term financial stability of the Starlink satellite service. Musk noted that SpaceX is increasing the production of its antennas “to several million units a year”, but that these will be “useless” if the Raptors are not successful.

Previously, Musk reported that SpaceX hopes to launch the first orbital flight test of its Starship spacecraft. in January 2022. “We will do a lot of testing in December and hopefully launch it in January,” the billionaire said during a meeting of the Board of Space Studies of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

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Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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