Delays in the production of the Raptor engines powering the Starship mega-rocket, which is to take Americans to the moon, could lead to the bankruptcy of the company SpaceX, alarmed his boss Elon Musk in a message to employees reported by US media Tuesday.
“Sadly, the Raptor production crisis is much worse than it looked a few weeks ago.”, he wrote in an e-mail first disclosed by the specialized site Space Explored and then by the financial news channel CNBC.
“At the end of the day, we face a real risk of bankruptcy if we do not achieve a rate of at least one Starship flight every two weeks next year.”, says the entrepreneur, accustomed to extreme statements, at the end of his message sent Friday to employees, according to CNBC.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to AFP’s requests.
Starship was chosen by NASA to become the moon lander used as part of its Artemis back to the moon program. The machine is also developed by SpaceX to transport loads in space and, ultimately, to go to Mars.
Premier full orbital in 2022
The craft has already made several suborbital flights and, after several tests completed in impressive explosions, finally managed in May to land without destroying itself.
Elon Musk said in mid-November that Starship would attempt its first orbital flight early next year, once the required clearances have been obtained. “We hope to try around ten launches next year”, he had then declared during an intervention in front of scientists of the National Academy of Sciences. “Maybe more.”
Known for his ability to work almost day and night in times of crisis, the boss of the company, also the head of Tesla, explains in his message that he has given up taking days off during the Thanksgiving weekend and calls them. employees to mobilize similarly.
“Unless you have family emergencies, or you can’t physically get back to Hawthorne (the company headquarters, Editor’s note), we’re going to need everyone’s help to recover from what is, frankly, a desaster”, he wrote there.