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Virgin Orbit to cease all operations and lay off 85 percent of its workforce

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 midflight, releasing the LauncherOne rocket.
Virgin Orbit was notable for launching its LauncherOne rocket from midair using Cosmic Girl, a converted Boeing 747. | Image: Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit, the satellite-launching subsidiary of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has announced that it will lay off 85 percent of its workforce and is ceasing operations “for the foreseeable future.” The company, which aimed to provide a more affordable option for launching small satellites into orbit, had been struggling to secure funding to stay afloat and compete with larger players in the private space industry like SpaceX and Blue Origin.

The news comes two months after its most recent mission in Cornwall, UK failed due to a dislodged rocket fuel filter.

According to a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Virgin Orbit…

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