Virgin Orbit, the satellite launch company founded by Richard Branson and sister company to space tourism company Virgin Galactic, has suspended operations and furloughed employees while trying to secure more funding.
The changes were announced at an all-employee meeting with staff on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter. Almost all Virgin Orbit employees were furloughed for the week, with only a limited number of staff remaining.
A Virgin Orbit spokesman confirmed the pause in operations in a statement to Bloomberg, but did not comment on the vacations.
“Virgin Orbit is initiating a company-wide pause in operations effective March 16, 2023 and expects to provide an update on continued operations in the coming weeks,” the spokesman said.
Shares of the company fell 52 percent to 49 US cents in postmarket trading in New York late Wednesday after announcing it was suspending operations.
CNBC reported the disruptions earlier Wednesday.
Virgin Orbit ran out of money. At its previous earnings announcement, the company reported an operating loss of $149 million ($225 million) for the first nine months of 2022. It had also regularly raised funds from Virgin Investments. The company is expected to report fourth quarter 2022 results on March 29.
Virgin Orbit is also recovering from a high-profile launch failure in January. It was to launch nine small satellites from Spaceport Cornwall in what would be the first orbital rocket launch from British soil. However, the rocket suffered an in-flight mishap and never reached orbit, resulting in the loss of all satellites on board.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/richard-branson-s-virgin-orbit-furloughs-staff-halts-operations-20230316-p5csmy.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_business Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit furloughs staff and closes operations