Elon Musk to SpaceX: Starship’s Raptor engine crisis risks bankruptcy – CNBC

Elon Musk is angry with the lack of progress SpaceX has made in developing the Raptor engines that power its Starship rocket.

He described a dire situation the day after Thanksgiving in a companywide email, a copy of which was obtained by CNBC.

“The Raptor production crisis is much worse than it seemed a few weeks ago,” Musk wrote.

“We face genuine risk of bankruptcy if we cannot achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year,” Musk added later.

Starship is the massive, next-generation rocket SpaceX is developing to launch cargo and people on missions to the moon and Mars. The company is testing prototypes at a facility in southern Texas and has flown multiple short test flights. But to move to orbital launches, the rocket prototypes will need as many as 39 Raptor engines each – necessitating a sharp ramp in engine production.

Musk’s email to SpaceX employees provides more context to the significance of the departure of former Vice President of Propulsion Will Heltsley earlier this month. Heltsley had been taken off Raptor development before he left, CNBC reported, with Musk noting in his email that the company’s leadership has been digging into the program’s problems since then – and discovering the circumstances “to be far more severe” than Musk previously thought.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. Heltsley did not respond to CNBC requests for comment.

The SpaceX founder and CEO’s email was first reported by Space Explored, a subset of technology blog 9to5Mac.

Raptor engine program is ‘a disaster’

A closer look under the base of Super Heavy Booster 4 at the 29 Raptor engines.


Musk wrote in the email that he planned to take the long Thanksgiving holiday off. But, after discovering the Raptor situation, Musk said he would personally work on the engine production line through Friday night and into the weekend.

“We need all hands on deck to recover from what is, quite frankly, a disaster,” Musk wrote.

The billionaire founder has repeatedly described production as the most difficult part of creating SpaceX’s mammoth rocket. The company has steadily built up its Starship production and testing facility in Boca Chica, Texas, with multiple prototypes in work simultaneously.

The company’s next major step in developing Starship is launching to orbit.

A Starship prototype test fires its six Raptor rocket engines on November 12, 2021 in Boca Chica, Texas.


Musk on Nov. 17 said SpaceX will “hopefully launch” the first orbital Starship flight in January or February, pending regulatory approval by the FAA as well as technical readiness.

SpaceX wants Starship to be fully reusable, with both the rocket and its booster capable of landing after a launch and to be recovered for future flights. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are partially reusable. The company can regularly land and relaunch the boosters but not the upper portion, or stage, of the rocket.

Musk said earlier this month that he …….


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Red Bull set to announce Ford engine partnership deal with US car giant – BBC

Honda-powered Red Bull won both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2022

Red Bull are poised to announce an engine partnership deal with US car giant Ford.

Ford will join forces with the team from 2026, part-funding the engine Red Bull are designing for the new regulations to be introduced that year.

The agreement is expected to be officially unveiled at Red Bull’s 2023 season launch in New York on Friday.

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Ford set to announce F1 return with Red Bull engine deal – The Race

Red Bull and Ford are set to announce they will work together on a Formula 1 engine for 2026.

The widely rumoured collaboration will be announced on Friday, when Red Bull is set to reveal the livery for its 2023 car the RB19 at an event in New York.

Though not confirmed by either party, the news of a tie-up between Ford and the newly created Red Bull Powertrains engine division was mistakenly leaked in Italian media and is understood to be correct.

Ford has been interested in a potential F1 programme for several months, based around the 2026 engine regulations – which feature “100% sustainable fuels”, according to F1, and an increase in the electrical …….