Virgin Orbit to lay off 90 per cent of workforce, cease operations ‘for foreseeable future’
Virgin Orbit is reportedly laying off over 85 per cent of its workforce and ceasing its operations “for the foreseeable future” after failing to secure a funding lifeline.
Company chief Dan Hart told employees during an all-hands meeting on Thursday that it has been unable to secure the funding needed to “provide a clear path for this company”, CNBC reported.
Mr Hart reportedly said the space launch company had no choice but to implement “immediate, dramatic and extremely painful changes”.
The company is also laying off nearly 90 per cent of its workforce, constituing 675 job roles, with only 100 positions remaining, a security filings revealed.
“This company, this team – all of you – mean a hell of a lot to me. And I have not, and will not, stop supporting you, whether you’re here on the journey or if you’re elsewhere,” Mr Hart noted.
Virgin Orbit has been wrapping up its investigation of the mid-flight failure of its launch earlier this year which intended to demonstrate the UK’s plan to be a space nation of the future.
In the launch attempt in January, a Virgin Orbit jumbo jet took off from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay while carrying a rocket under a wing.
After flying to about 35,000ft over the Atlantic Ocean, the plane jettisoned the rocket before returning safely.
The rocket was expected to ignite and climb into orbit and drop off its payload of nine satellites, however, it failed to make it into its orbit as predicted.
Later investigation revealed that a dislodged fuel filter may have caused the failure.
“Our investigation is not yet complete; the team is hard at work and we’ll pursue the cause and contributors to wherever the system analysis takes us,” the company had said.
The space company founded by billionaire Sir Richard Branson has also been reportedly finishing its preparations for its next rocket.
“We are modifying our next rocket with a more robust filter and we are looking broadly to assure that all credible contributors to mission failure are rooted out and addressed,” Virgin Orbit had said last month.