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Virgin Orbit shuts down

Unable to secure new funding, the managers of Virgin Orbit have shuttered the company, possibly forever.

Virgin Orbit is ceasing operations “for the foreseeable future” after failing to secure a funding lifeline, CEO Dan Hart told employees during an all-hands meeting Thursday afternoon. The company will lay off nearly all of its workforce. “Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to secure the funding to provide a clear path for this company,” Hart said, according to audio of the 5 p.m. ET meeting obtained by CNBC.

The layoffs include all but 100 positions, about 85% of its workforce.

The company was killed because the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) took an extra six months approving a launch license, during which the company could launch nothing and thus make no money. Lacking revenue, it ran out of cash. If the company goes into bankruptcy, this detail is most intriguing:

Branson has first priority over Virgin Orbit’s assets, as the company raised $60 million in debt from the investment arm of Virgin Group.

In other words, Branson will be able to walk off with everything, and even resurrect the company as his own, for pennies on the dollar. If he does, I guarantee our bankrupt mainstream press will shower him with praise, calling him a hero.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 

The print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

8 comments

  • Willi

    Perhaps I should contact my broker about getting a physical stock certificate for the 30 shares of VORB I own. Such a piece of paper might have value in the distant future as a memento of the dawn of the space age…

  • wayne

    October 2020:
    “To date, many millions of share certificates in the U.S. capital market have been dematerialized. With concerted effort and the help of the transfer agent community, DTCC believes a realistic target in the next three years would be the full dematerialization of 98%+ of all physical stock certificates,” the company said in its announcement.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomgroenfeldt/2020/10/15/paper-securities-still-exist-and-dtcc-is-after-them/?sh=6ab3783435e9

  • Jeff Wright

    Elon is no better–

    “Deja Vu: Twitter locks out The (New York) Post over story on removal of 5K tweets.” Few that are moral become rich-and fewer that are rich are ever moral.

    Ayn Rand’s writings have only one use-as toilet paper.

    Cast away your idols.

  • john hare

    Jeff,

    Your comments seem to be disconnected from reality much of the time. That there are others with other illusions does not mitigate your issues.

  • Gary H

    Elon is a visionary with a great work ethic. I doubt that his CV claims sainthood.

    Will he take criticism and use what he thinks valuable? We will see.

  • sippin_bourbon

    NY Post has tons of posts in the last 24 hours, so they do not appear to be locked out of anything.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Back on topic,
    CNBC has a perspective on the failure of VO.
    Not quite a post-mortem, as I think this is all from the outside looking in.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/31/virgin-orbit-what-went-wrong.html

    This line is noteworthy, in my mind.
    “Some people within the company who had been critical of Virgin Orbit’s execution pointed to several executives’ backgrounds at Boeing, which has had its share of space-related snags over the years.”

    The next paragraph then goes on to name the Chief Executive, Operations and Strategy Officers as all three Boeing alumni.

    It also mentions a key contract that was lost, as well as poor purchasing/material stock management.

    Old Space people trying to run what could have been a New Space agency. I wonder if they were so used to the government teat that they just assumed that there would be a bountiful bailout. (speculation on my part).

    I get the feeling the article is just scratching the surface.

  • Jeff Wright

    If bending people over and flushing them is Branson’s style—maybe he could invest in this:
    https://projectswordtoys.blogspot.com/2023/04/insert-and-blast-off.html?m=1

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