Last Friday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk emailed employees, sharing the news that the production of the company’s Raptor engines is in much worse shape than it seemed a few weeks prior. He goes on to urge employees to return to its headquarters in Hawthorne, Cali. for Thanksgiving weekend, writing SpaceX needs “all hands on deck to recover from what is, quite frankly, a disaster.”
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“Unfortunately, the Raptor production crisis is much worse than it seemed a few weeks ago,” Musk wrote. “As we have dug into the issues following exiting prior senior management, they have unfortunately turned out to be far more severe than was reported. There is no way to sugarcoat this.”
The Raptor is a critical engine meant for some of SpaceX’s bigger projects. The engines are planned to be used on Starship, SpaceX’s rocket that will launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. Starship is also set to carry larger and more capable satellites in SpaceX’s Starlink initiative.
“The consequences for SpaceX if we can’t get enough reliable Raptors made is that we then can’t fly Starship, which means we then can’t fly Starlink Satellite V2 (Falcon has neither the volume *nor* the mass to orbit needed for satellite V2). Satellite V1 by itself is financially weak, whereas V2 is strong,” Musk wrote.
The CEO took to Twitter to respond to the news of the Raptor production crisis, tweeting that a severe recession puts the company at risk.
The magnitude of the Starship program is not widely appreciated. It is designed to extend life to Mars (and the moon), which requires ~1000 times more payload to orbit than all current Earth rockets combined.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 30, 2021
Musk finished his email by telling employees that if SpaceX can’t achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year, the company faces “genuine risk of bankruptcy.”