Cerebus immediately "downsized" the headcount to 13 people and ceased flying. Cerberus Capital Management is a controversial private equity firm specializing in distressed companies.
Although the carrier aircraft made a successful maiden flight in April last year, Vulcan had already begun scaling back its efforts and cutting workers in 2019.
Jean Floyd, Stratolaunch’s president and CEO since 2015, remains in his previous roles under Cerebus. Late last year, Floyd tweeted that Stratolaunch had grown from 13 to 87 employees and that the company’s new mission was “to be the world’s leading provider of high-speed flight test services.”
One wonders what this means and whether Stratolaunch's days are numbered?
The Motley Fool saw it this way last year...
Floyd said Stratolaunch’s new vision was “breaking barriers.” This suggests a pivot away from satellite launches to hypersonic flight tests. These are difficult to carry out over land due to disruptive sonic booms, but much easier to conduct over the open ocean from an air-launched system.
Militaries and defense companies around the world are in the process of developing hypersonic vehicles to deliver both conventional and potentially nuclear weapons.
All the jobs currently listed on Stratolaunch website are at its Mojave flight facility, raising the possibility that the company’s Seattle office is living on borrowed time. Job descriptions make no mention of satellite launches, instead noting that “Stratolaunch is developing an air-launch platform to contribute to high-speed research and development.”
“The goal of Stratolaunch is to use the air-launch platform for enabling technologies that may not exist otherwise,” the job descriptions say.