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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.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. All editions can also be purchased direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • 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.”

  • 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


    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.

    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:

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