Virgin Orbit calls it a day after funding deal falls through, 85% of staff to be cut

Virgin Orbit, the space-going arm of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has failed to secure additional funding and will be laying off 675 employees, effective immediately.
Virgin Orbit calls it a day after funding deal falls through, 85% of staff to be cut

Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc., the rather unique satellite launching operation that utlised a modified Boeing 747 jet to support the first phase of an orbital injection, has indicated in an SEC filing that it will engage in a: 

“workforce reduction of approximately 675 employees, constituting approximately 85% of the Company’s workforce in order to reduce expenses in light of the Company's inability to secure meaningful funding. Those impacted are located in all areas of the Company.”

The company sold a senior secured convertible note at $10.9 million to Virgin Investments Limited and is expected to use the net proceeds of the transaction to cover severance and other costs associated with the breakup of the company.

For as much as Virgin Orbit so badly wanted to be a new and alternative mechanism for launching satellites into orbit, despite a first mission to orbit in January 2021 and four subsequent successful flights through 2022, it was perhaps the operation’s high-profile launch (the first of its kind from British soil) failure in January of this year, and the ensuing rapid drop in its stock price, the writing was just about on the wall for the company.

According to a report filed by CNBC, A spokesperson for the company said that operations had been halted for the foreseeable future, with Bloomberg confirming that the remaining 15% of employees will work on winding down the business.

The same Bloomberg report went on to cite an undisclosed source indicating that “Virgin Orbit is still looking to sell all or part of its business.”

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