Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit to close following bankruptcy, assets sold at auction

Virgin Orbit, the satellite launch provider founded by Sir Richard Branson, has confirmed its closure after selling its facility leases and equipment to three aerospace companies following bankruptcy.

CNBC reports that Virgin Orbit, a pioneer in satellite launch services, has announced its closure after selling its equipment and facilities to three aerospace companies following its bankruptcy. Virgin Orbit, which Sir Richard Branson founded as a spin-off from Virgin Galactic in 2017, has made significant strides in the space industry. However, the company ran into financial problems, which slowed execution and made fundraising difficult. These difficulties ultimately led to bankruptcy and the choice to cease operations.

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic poses before ringing the first trading bell to commemorate the company’s first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Johannes EISELE/AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

“As Virgin Orbit embarks on this path, management and employees would like to express their deep appreciation to all stakeholders,” the company said in a statement. “Virgin Orbit’s legacy in the space industry will be forever remembered. Its breakthrough technologies, relentless pursuit of excellence, and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of air launch have left an indelible mark on the industry.

In a recently completed auction, Virgin Orbit’s assets fetched around $36 million, but its rockets and intellectual property have yet to be sold. Among those interested, Rocket Lab made a winning bid of $16.1 million for the Long Beach, Calif., headquarters of Virgin Orbit. The acquisition will enhance Rocket Lab’s production, manufacturing and testing capabilities, particularly when developing its largest Neutron rocket.

“With Neutron’s design and development well advanced, this transaction represents a capital savings opportunity to increase our production capacity to quickly bring Neutron to the launch pad to serve our customers and their future success,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck.

With the intention of using it to increase its ability to perform hypersonic flight testing, Stratolaunch won its $17 million bid for the 747 planes owned by Virgin Orbit. For $2.7 million, Launcher, a division of Vast Space, purchased a Mojave facility and other assets from Virgin Orbit. For $650,000, a liquidation company named Inliper purchased the company’s office supplies.

Despite the company’s notable accomplishments, which included launching six missions since 2020 and successfully entering orbit with a privately developed launch vehicle, Virgin Orbit has struggled with money. The company was forced to shut down operations and lay off nearly all of its employees before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.

Tony Gingiss, the former COO of Virgin Orbit, apologized for the company’s demise in an email to staff members. “You deserved better than that!” Gingiss wrote. He applauded Virgin Orbit’s workforce for “being part of something bold, challenging and fulfilling”, but lamented the company’s failure to demonstrate its full potential in the market. .

Despite the company’s best efforts, it was unable to find a bulk buyer to preserve its assets and intellectual property, leading to the asset auction. It remains unclear what will happen to Virgin Orbit’s remaining assets, including its rockets and intellectual property.

Learn more about CNBC here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering free speech and online censorship issues. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


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