Elon Musk’s SpaceX project has a sister operation in the form of Starlink, a plan to launch around 4425 satellites in order to girdle the Earth and provide high-capacity broadband to every part of the planet.
Starlink’s overall aim is to populate is fleet with up to 10,000 satellites in order to cope with anticipated growth in demand.
Reportedly, Musk – on a visit to the Starlink facility in Redmond, Washington State back in June – fired “at least” 7 senior members of the team. Musk, according to Reuters, replaced the lost staffers with new team members and with a brief to get the first batch of satellites into orbit by mid-2019.
Starlink already has a pair of satellites in orbit, the cheekily named Tintin 1 and Tintin 2, and placed into orbit in Febrary.
There are some 300 staff working at Redmond, and Musk has previously said that the factory would have “maybe” 1000 people within 3-4 years of operation.
SpaceX spokeswoman Eva Behrend told Reuters that Starlink is now incorporating lessons learnt and “reorganised to allow for the next design iteration to be flown in short order.”
Musk’s SpaceX is on record as saying that it would launch its constellation in batches through to 2024, and is “pretty much on target”.