Virgin Orbit: Richard Branson’s satellite firm halts operations and reportedly furloughs employees

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Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl failed to launch in a test in January – AP

Virgin Orbit, The satellite launch firm founded by Richard Branson It has put operations and staff on hold while attempting to secure more funding, according to a report.

Bloomberg quoted a source as saying that the changes were announced at a meeting with employees on Wednesday. Almost all Virgin Orbit employees were furloughed for the week, with limited staff remaining.

Chief executive Dan Hart told employees in a meeting that it intended to buy Virgin Orbit time to finalize a new investment plan to help the company out of its financial woes, Reuters reported.

A spokeswoman for Virgin Orbit, the sister company of Mr Branson’s space tourism venture Virgin Galactic, confirmed the halt of operations in a statement, but did not comment on the furloughs.

“Virgin Orbit is initiating a company-wide operational pause effective March 16, 2023, and looks forward to providing an on operations going forward in the coming weeks,” the spokesperson said.

The company’s shares plunged up to 52pc in after-market trading in New York on Wednesday evening after it announced it was shutting operations.

CNBC reported the disruptions earlier on Wednesday.

A viewer of Virgin Orbit's failed launch in January - REUTERS

A viewer of Virgin Orbit’s failed launch in January – REUTERS

Virgin Orbit was running short of cash. It reported an operating loss of $149 million (£123.4 million) for the first nine months of during its last earnings announcement.

It has been raising funds from Virgin Investments Limited from time to time. The company is set to report earnings for the fourth quarter of on March 29.

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Recovery is also happening from Virgin Orbit A high-profile launch failure in January, It was scheduled to launch nine small satellites from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay, which was supposed to be First orbital rocket launch from British soil,

However, the rocket suffered an error during and never reached orbit. This caused you to burn up on re-entry, causing the loss of all satellites on board.

Virgin Orbit has since blamed the accident on a fuel filter that became dislodged during launch.

“Our testing on the operations side is almost complete and our next production rocket with necessary modifications is in the final stages of integration and testing,” the spokesperson said.