A tough day for the Virgin brand. Virgin Orbit, the satellite launch firm founded by Sir Richard Branson, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.
The company’s last-ditch efforts to secure funding were unsuccessful, resulting in approximately 100 employees being left to manage the remaining business following an 85% workforce reduction.
The filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection allows Virgin Orbit to restructure its debts while continuing operations. The company will seek a buyer for its assets while under Chapter 11 protection. According to Dan Hart, the firm’s CEO, the company’s innovative launch technology is expected to generate interest among buyers during the sale process.
Virgin Orbit’s bankruptcy filing occurred three months after the company failed to launch the first satellite from UK soil, which was intended to be a landmark moment for the country. The rocket failed to achieve the necessary altitude due to an anomaly and was ultimately lost.
Following the failed launch, Virgin Orbit ceased operations and put its employees on furlough as it sought to obtain financial assistance. Despite efforts to secure funding, the company was unable to secure the necessary investment to continue operations.
Sir Richard Branson expressed his disappointment at the news, stating that he remained committed to the space industry and would continue to invest in it through other companies in the Virgin Group. “I am sad to see Virgin Orbit go through this difficult time,” Branson said. “However, I remain committed to the space industry and will continue to invest in it through other companies in the Virgin Group.”
The bankruptcy of Virgin Orbit is a significant blow to the UK’s space industry, which had hoped that the launch of the satellite from UK soil would mark a turning point for the country’s space sector. However, with the failure of the launch and the subsequent bankruptcy of Virgin Orbit, the UK’s space ambitions have suffered a setback.
The future of Virgin Orbit remains uncertain because the company seeking a buyer for its assets while under Chapter 11 protection. However, the innovative launch technology developed by the company is expected to generate interest among potential buyers, and there is hope that the company’s technology will continue to play a role in the space industry.
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