After a banner year of successful rocket launches for Elon Musk’s private space flight company SpaceX, so far 2019 sees the company coming back down to Earth hard and fast.
The company announced on Friday that it would be laying off 10 percent of its workforce, according to Reuters. SpaceX currently has about 6,000 employees, so that 10 percent layoff number means that roughly 600 people will lose their jobs.
The company cited the need to become “leaner” as the reason for the layoffs. It told Reuters that in order to achieve the dual vision of “interplanetary space craft and global space-based internet,” it needed to cut costs to avoid bankruptcy.
The announcement is a departure from the sort of headlines that have dominated a momentous year for the ambitious company. SpaceX successfully pulled off 21 rocket launches in 2018, sent a Tesla roadster into orbit on its Falcon Heavy rocket, and capped off the year by doing the same with a GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force two days before Christmas.
But it’s not the first round of firings for the company either. Elon Musk replaced multiple members of the senior management team in June 2018, reportedly after disagreements over the pace of work on SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. Musk has also overseen layoffs and management changes at Tesla.