Sierra Space, a prominent private space company, has recently laid off several hundred employees and contractors, resulting in a significant reduction in its workforce. Around 165 employees were let go, but the exact number of affected contractors has not been specified. This latest round of layoffs has led to hundreds of personnel cuts in total.
However, the company has made efforts to provide support to the affected individuals. Laid-off employees received two weeks of paid non-working notice, along with four weeks of severance pay and healthcare benefits until the end of the year.
Prior to these workforce reductions, Sierra Space had a workforce of approximately 2,000 employees. The layoffs come at a time when the company is focused on the first mission of its Dream Chaser spaceplane. The first Dream Chaser, named Tenacity, was shipped for pre-launch testing at NASA’s Armstrong facility just before the layoffs began.
The surge in hiring earlier this year was primarily driven by the need to complete work on the Tenacity spacecraft. However, this ultimately led to the subsequent layoffs. Sierra Space had to readjust its workforce as it transitioned to the operations phase of Dream Chaser’s first mission and began classified national security work. As part of these changes, the company plans to hire almost 150 employees with security clearances from Sierra Nevada Corp. to form a national security space team.
It’s worth noting that Sierra Space recently experienced the departure of two senior executives, COO Jeff Babione (who retired) and Senior VP Neeraj Gupta. However, these departures are unrelated to the recent layoffs.
Sierra Space, valued at over $5 billion, secured contracts from NASA for seven cargo missions to and from the International Space Station. The company aims to play a significant role in space exploration and transportation, particularly with the launch of the Dream Chaser, a reusable vehicle designed to deliver cargo and eventually crew to low Earth orbit. While the first launch was initially scheduled for late last year, delays caused by the development of United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket pushed it back. The Dream Chaser is now expected to launch on ULA’s second Vulcan mission, with the first Vulcan launch planned for December.
Despite the recent challenges, Sierra Space remains determined to continue its mission in the space industry and contribute to future space endeavors.