LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) - Virgin galactic laid off 73 people in Las Cruces, mainly technical operators.
The company told ABC-7 the layoffs were necessary for future growth, which includes building bigger, more efficient ships.
Virgin Galactic says they are also planning to temporarily pause space flights next year.
A company representative said the layoffs basically amounted to eliminating some shifts, as opposed to getting rid of some departments altogether.
"There's a lot of confidence in the future for Virgin Galactic," said Jerry Pacheco. "It just needs to get through this valley of death as its referred to in the entrepreneurship world."
Pacheco is the president of the border industrial association in Santa Teresa, New Mexico and was part of the team that secured tax dollars from Dona Ana County and Sierra County to use towards the spaceport.
He said he still believes in the company's commitment to New Mexico. "I mean there's just a ton of people that have already put a down payment to fly into space, but they're taking them 3 at a time on the aircraft that already exists," said Pacheco.
Employees who were laid off will continue to receive their salary through January 8th, according to a representative with Virgin Galactic. They will also pay for their insurance through the end of January.