Sunday, June 16

Virgin Orbit Disassembled as Company Ceases Operations

Virgin Orbit, once a thriving company, has undergone a significant transformation as it recently faced bankruptcy. In an auction that followed, the company was sold off in parts. Rocket Lab USA, a modest satellite launch provider and aerospace manufacturer, made a noteworthy acquisition by purchasing Virgin Orbit’s expansive Long Beach headquarters spanning 144,000 square feet, along with a range of machinery and equipment.

Rocket Lab USA, located conveniently in Long Beach, is currently engrossed in the development of Neutron, a larger launch vehicle. Peter Beck, CEO and founder of Rocket Lab, expressed his satisfaction with the purchase, highlighting the added value of Virgin Orbit’s lease. According to Beck, this acquisition allows for a collaborative environment with shared engineering, manufacturing, and testing capabilities for the Neutron team.

Originally established in 2017 as a subsidiary of Virgin Galactic, the space tourism endeavor led by billionaire Richard Branson, Virgin Orbit had set out to deploy small satellites into low Earth orbit using a modified Boeing 747 aircraft dubbed Cosmic Girl. Unfortunately, out of the six flights conducted since its inaugural mission in 2020, only four achieved success. In an attempt to cut costs, the company pursued strategies such as going public in 2021 and implementing employee furloughs as a last resort. However, these measures proved insufficient, and the company’s financial statements for 2022 reflected a substantial net loss of $191.2 million. Consequently, Virgin Orbit declared bankruptcy in April and regrettably had to lay off a significant portion of its workforce.

Image Source: Virgin Orbit Twitter