Virgin Orbit’s Space Launch Operations Grounded: The End of an Era?
Virgin Orbit, the satellite launch subsidiary of Virgin, has announced its closure after six years of operation. In a stunning development, the company revealed that it will not be able to secure the funding to continue its operations, leading to the immediate layoff of nearly 90% of its workforce, or 675 people in total.
Virgin Orbit was founded in 2017 to develop and commercialize LauncherOne, a satellite launch system that fired rockets from a modified 747 airliner, nicknamed Cosmic Girl. While the system experienced early success in terms of development milestones and service contracts, its first official test launch failed to deliver its payload into orbit in May 2020.