Virgin Orbit files for bankruptcy following layoffs

The satellite launch company has been unable to secure funding after its launch mishap in January.


Since the company’s failure to launch its satellite in January, Richard Branson’s satellite launch company, Virgin Orbit has not been able to secure long term investments to recover from its mishap earlier in the year. After laying off nearly 85 per cent of its workforce last week, the company, in its filing at the US bankruptcy court, is looking to sell all its assets, reported Reuters.

The organisation’s sixth and final go at launching a satellite was in Britain in January, where the rocket failed to reach orbit and sent US and UK intelligence satellites straight into the Atlantic Ocean. Ever since this incident, the company has failed to attract long term investments.

On March 15, 2023, the company announced its intention to take an ‘operational pause’. This resulted in the company furloughing almost all of its employees to conserve cash and shift its focus on funding to key in on rocket design improvements.

The company was in talks with Texas based investor Mathew Brown who was reportedly ready to make a USD 200 million investment in the firm before the talks got derailed. Between November and March the company was able to secure USD 50 million from Branson’s Virgin Group via debt secured against equipment and other assets in case of bankruptcy. When the company went public in 2021 it raised USD 225 million less than expected.

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