Elon Musk has expressed his anger at the lack of progress SpaceX has made in developing the Raptor engines that will power the Starship rocket.
The Starship is an advanced giant rocket that SpaceX is working on to launch equipment and people on missions to the moon and Mars, and the company is testing prototypes at a facility in southern Texas, and has launched several short-term test flights, but to transition to orbital launches, prototypes need 39 Raptor engines per rocket, which necessitates an exponential increase in engine output.
The letter Musk sent to SpaceX employees explains the significance of the departure earlier in November of Will Heltsley, deputy director of the rocket propulsion research division, who had been developing the Raptor engine before leaving the company. Musk indicated that the company’s management has been looking into the project’s problems since that time and discovered much more severe consequences than he had previously expected, he added that SpaceX faces a real risk of bankruptcy if it does not achieve an average Starship flight rate of at least one flight every two weeks starting next year.
SpaceX aims to make the Starship rocket completely reusable, as it seeks to have both the rocket and its thruster capable of landing after launch and recovering them for new flights in the future.
SpaceX has raised billions of dollars over the past years to fund both Starship and the Starlink satellite Internet project, making the company’s valuation recently reach $100 billion, but despite the launch of SpaceX about 1,700 Starlink satellites into Earth orbit so far, Musk stated that the first version of the satellite is “financially weak”, noting that the company has continuously increased the Starlink user base to reach 140,000 users, each of whom pays $99 per month for the service. Read more [Musk May Need $30 Billion to Maintain Starlink].