UPDATE: A Friday evening communication from SpaceX Communications Director John Taylor:
“I can tell you that there was an annual review cycle completed recently, along with some rebalancing of resources. Our resulting headcount reduction was less than 5 percent. SpaceX expects to see net positive employee growth in 2014 of approximately 20 percent.”
A reliable source reports SpaceX fired 200 to 300 people over the past week, reportedly for poor performance.
However, speculation focuses on the possibility that the company is experiencing a cash-flow crunch. The company has added thousands of employees in recent years despite a launch rate that is low compared with its main rival, United Launch Alliance.
I’ve asked SpaceX for a comment, but the company has not responded yet.