The company test-launched one of its Ripley rocket engines in Colorado.
Two Space companies in Colorado laid off workers last week as they tried to adjust to the new normal of a tight financial environment.
Job cuts were made at Ursa Major, which makes rocket engines, and Orbit Fab, a start-up that aims to provide refueling services for spacecraft.
A person familiar with Ursa Major told CNBC that the company laid off 27% of its workforce, or about 80 people. A spokesperson for Ursa Major confirmed to CNBC that the company has undergone restructuring, but did not disclose the number of layoffs. Ursa Major said in a statement that the job cuts “are being restructured to better serve the needs of our national security customers.”
“We would like to sincerely thank all current and former Ursa Major professionals for their contributions. Their efforts and accomplishments cannot be overstated, and the advances in space and hypersonic propulsion they have made possible. I am deeply grateful to ,” Ursa Major said.
In a LinkedIn post, several former Ursa Major employees wrote that Wednesday was a “tough day” for the company as “top people” were laid off as part of a “massive layoff.”
OrbitFab chief commercial officer Adam Harris said in a statement to CNBC that 10 people were laid off this week, bringing the company’s workforce to about 50 after the restructuring. The company recently hired a new chief operating officer and plans to hire a chief engineer and more in the coming months.
“Our refined strategy will enable OrbitFab to better serve the critical and growing demand for space refueling infrastructure for commercial and government markets and missions,” said Harris. .
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After years of record funding levels in the space sector, the first quarter of 2023 saw the lowest level of investment in the industry since 2015, according to Space Capital.
Ursa Major last raised funding in October, raising $150 million at a $550 million valuation, according to PitchBook. Headquartered in Bertudo, Colorado and founded in 2015, the company had approximately 300 employees before layoffs. Ursa Major’s line of rocket engines has received orders from customers such as the Air Force Research Laboratory, Stratolaunch and Astra.
Orbit Fab recently raised funding, closing a $29 million round in April at a valuation of $113 million, according to Pitchbook. Based in Lafayette, Colorado and founded in 2018, OrbitFab aims to begin demonstration flights in 2019 and 2021 and provide spacecraft refueling services as early as 2025. The company has won initial contracts from the Space Force and the British Space Agency.
tech crunch First to report job cuts at Ursa Major.