Virgin Orbit files for bankruptcy
Virgin Orbit, the launch company for small payloads in low Earth orbit that emerged from Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, has filed for bankruptcy with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The bankruptcy filing follows weeks of bad news for the company, including a halt to all operations, a brief hunt for more cash to keep the company going, and massive layoffs to try to fit the company’s actual available budget, as it is today correct size to bring messages essentially confirm was non-existent.
Prior to that quick and furious two-week collapse, Virgin Orbit had already shown signs of being essentially life-support: the company’s marquee maiden flight from a brand-new British spaceport in January ended in failure due to an anomaly, and there was very little Indication of when another attempt might arrive.
Virgin Orbit emerged from Virgin Galactic back in 2017 when the Branson-backed space company split its efforts into two separate focuses: Galactic pursued human spaceflight and targeted suborbital travel for scientists and thrill-seekers. This has borne some fruit, but has not yet reached the scale and cadence of operations that it was trying to achieve at the time. Orbit, meanwhile, aimed to launch small payloads into low Earth orbit using small rockets fired from the wings of a large carrier ship, a modified 747-400 passenger plane.
The benefits of this approach were to be flexibility, as it theoretically meant launches could be made from any existing airfield that could accommodate a 747 with some adjustments. It should also result in lower launch costs for customers who only needed to send very light spacecraft into the air.
Virgin Orbit will seek a sale of the entire company or its assets as a possible means of resolving its bankruptcy status, the company said in the filing.
https://techcrunch.com/2023/04/04/virgin-orbit-files-for-bankruptcy/ Virgin Orbit files for bankruptcy