Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has discussed the chances of SpaceX going bankrupt, saying it’s “not impossible” under the right conditions amid reports of a production “crisis” plaguing the firm’s Raptor engines.
Commenting on the alleged production problems on Tuesday, Musk outlined a scenario in which SpaceX could go bankrupt, saying a worldwide financial downturn coupled with other problems at the company could spell its demise, though noted that was not likely to happen.
“If a severe global recession were to dry up capital availability / liquidity while SpaceX was losing billions on Starlink & Starship, then bankruptcy, while still unlikely, is not impossible,” he said in a tweet.
If a severe global recession were to dry up capital availability / liquidity while SpaceX was losing billions on Starlink & Starship, then bankruptcy, while still unlikely, is not impossible.GM & Chrysler went BK last recession.“Only the paranoid survive.” – Grove
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 30, 2021
The post came in response to a report citing an email allegedly sent by Musk to SpaceX employees and obtained by a news site, Space Explored, in which the company founder voiced grave concerns about the Raptor engine used by its Starship craft.
“Unfortunately, the Raptor production crisis is much worse than it had seemed a few weeks ago,” he said in the leaked message, telling employees the firm “will need all hands on deck to recover from what is, quite frankly, a disaster.”
What it comes down to, is that we face a genuine risk of bankruptcy if we can’t achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year.
Musk did not confirm the authenticity of the email to Space Explored, though also did not dispute its veracity in responding to the report online, instead commenting further on whether the company could go belly-up.
The leaked email also noted the “exiting of prior senior management” involved with the Raptor project, possibly referring to the departure of two company executives earlier this month, first reported by CNBC. SpaceX’s vice president of propulsion, Will Heltsley, was reportedly taken off of the Raptor team “due to a lack of progress” before ultimately resigning his post.
Musk added yet more intrigue with his internet commentary on Tuesday. When asked about “the Raptor thing” by a Twitter user, he replied “It’s getting fixed” without elaborating, kicking off a storm of questions from curious observers.