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Virgin Orbit’s cash problems continue

Because of endless delays getting a regulatory approval of a launch in the United Kingdom, Virgin Orbit has been unable to complete the 4 to 6 launches in 2022 that it had planned, and is thus experiencing serious cash shortages that has now caused it to cancel plans to sell “additional securities.”

Virgin Orbit reported third quarter revenues of $30.9 million, which exceeded the zero revenues reported in Q3 2021. The company’s net loss was $43.6 million, which was higher than the $38.6 million loss in Q3 2021.

While costs and losses have mounted, Virgin Orbit has experienced delays in increasing its launch rate. The company had planned to conduct four to six launches this year. Today, the total stands at only two with just over a month left in 2022.

Virgin Orbit’s third launch was originally scheduled to take place in last August from Spaceport Cornwall in England. The company is still awaiting a license from the UK government that would allow the launch to take place. It is the first time the government has licensed both an orbital launch and a spaceport, so the process it taking longer than anticipated.

The company had not only ramped up production of its LauncherOne rocket in anticipation of an increased launch rate, it also purchased two more 747s to act as the rocket’s first stage carrier. Those actions however were based on the ability to increase the launch rate, which has been stymied since the summer by Great Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, which can’t seem to issue permission for Virgin Orbit to launch from a runway in Cornwall.

The canceled sale of securities appears part of the entire investment deal near the end of 2021. The cash shortages and this deal also appear connected to the decision by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to invest $25 million in Virgin Orbit earlier this month.

Virgin Orbit officials say they intend to double their launch rate in 2023. I suspect that they have to. It is now sink or swim.

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. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get 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.


  • Ray Van Dune

    Given that Branson is a UK citizen, and knighted, why would the UK not seek to facilitate the success of his company in the highly visible space launch marketplace?

    I don’t deny that his stock manipulation has been hinky, and VO is US-based, but that doesn’t explain why the UK would not want to support the success of Spaceport Cornwall, at least.

    Did he insult King Charles some years ago? That would count as a plus for him in the eyes of many.

  • James Street

    I worry Elon Musk may be condemning SpaceX to death by bureaucracy for his attacks on the swamp. But he realizes it’s a war that must be fought.

    Elon Musk @elonmusk
    This is a battle for the future of civilization. If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead.
    5:41 PM · Nov 28, 2022

    Meanwhile Xi has brought in tanks against the Chinese people. One protester was shouting repeatedly “give me liberty or give me death”.

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