Virgin Orbit files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States


The company’s modified “Cosmic Girl” 747 jet in Mojave, California.

pristine orbit

Virgin Orbit filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States on Tuesday after failing to obtain a lifeline.

The California-based satellite launch company has filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and is seeking to sell its assets.

It comes after CNBC obtained audio of Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart telling employees at a town hall meeting last week that the company was going out of business “for the foreseeable future”. The company also announced that it would lay off almost all of its workforce.

“While we have worked hard to turn around our financial situation and secure additional funding, ultimately we must do what is best for the business,” Hart said. said in a statement Tuesday.

“We believe the cutting-edge launch technology this team has created will be very attractive to buyers as we continue the process of selling the company. At this point, we believe the Chapter 11 process represents the best route to follow to identify and complete an effective and value-maximizing sale,” he added.

Virgin Orbit said Virgin Investments would provide $31.6 million in new funds through debtor-in-possession financing to help fund the process and protect its operations.

Virgin Orbit has developed a system that uses a modified 747 jet to launch satellites into space by dropping a rocket under the plane’s wing in midair.

The company’s latest mission suffered a mid-flight failure, with a glitch during launch, meaning the rocket failed to reach orbit and crashed into the ocean.

Virgin Orbit is one of the few US rocket companies to have successfully reached orbit with a privately developed launch vehicle. It has launched six missions since 2020, with four successes and two failures.

It has been seeking new funding for several months, with majority owner Richard Branson refusing to fund the venture further.

“Today my thoughts and concerns go out to the many talented teammates and friends who are now finding their calling and committed to the mission and promise of all that Virgin Orbit stands for,” said Hart.

“I am confident in what we have built and look forward to completing a transaction that positions our company and our technology for future opportunities and missions,” he added.

—CNBC Michael Sheetz contributed to this report.

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