Virgin Orbit Pauses Operations, Furloughs Staff, Seeks Funding

Written By: Zac Aubert

Published: Wed, Mar 15, 2023 9:50 PM

Latest Update: Wed, Mar 15, 2023 9:56 PM

Virgin Orbit, the spaceflight company founded by Sir Richard Branson, has announced that it will be furloughing almost all of its employees and halting operations for a week as it seeks a new funding lifeline. The move comes as the company faces financial difficulties and struggles to secure additional investment.

According to sources familiar with the matter, company executives held an all-hands meeting on Wednesday evening to brief staff on the situation. The furlough will be unpaid, although employees will be able to use their PTO to cover the time off. Only a small team will continue working during the furlough period.

In the meeting, company leaders reportedly stated that they plan to provide an update on the funding situation by next Wednesday or Thursday. The news has left many employees uncertain about their future with the company.

The announcement of the furlough and operational pause comes as the commercial space industry experiences a period of rapid growth and investment. However, many new entrants are struggling to secure funding and generate sustainable revenue streams. Virgin Orbit has faced a number of setbacks in recent years, including a failed launch attempt in 2020 and most recently in 2023. The company has also faced stiff competition from rival spaceflight firms such as RocketLab, Relativity Space, and Firefly Aerospace.

The news of the furlough is likely to be a blow to Virgin Orbit's employees and the wider commercial space industry. However, the company remains committed to its mission of democratizing access to space and is expected to continue its efforts to secure additional investment and funding.

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