Virgin Orbit signs deal with Japanese company to launch satellites in Japan

Capitalism in space: Virgin Orbit has signed a non-binding agreement with the Japanese airline company All Nippon Airways (ANA) to launch twenty times from a runway in Japan.

Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding that Virgin Orbit announced Nov. 4, ANA and several partners will fund the manufacturing of mobile ground support equipment for the LauncherOne system that will fly from a pre-existing runway. ANA would also “lead the effort to provide funds and support for [the 20 envisioned] orbital missions,” Virgin Orbit said.

Pending regulatory approvals in the United States and Japan, Oita could be ready for launch missions by the end of 2022, Virgin Orbit said.

This is the second airport in Asia that Virgin Orbit is planning to launch from, with the first in Guam.