Written By: Zac Aubert
Published: Tue, May 23, 2023 6:39 PM
Latest Update: Tue, May 23, 2023 6:46 PM
Virgin Orbit has sold its assets and equipment to a trio of aerospace companies through an auction, as confirmed by a court filing released on Tuesday.
The combined bids for the assets amount to approximately $36 million, providing some financial relief for the struggling company.
Rocket Lab, a leading small satellite launch provider, emerged as the successful bidder for Virgin Orbit's "machinery & equipment and lease" with a bid of $16.1 million. This acquisition will enable Rocket Lab to bolster its existing infrastructure and expand its capabilities in the rocket launch sector.
Stratolaunch, the aerospace company founded by the late Paul Allen, secured its position by making a "stalking horse" bid of $17 million for Virgin Orbit's prized possession: the Boeing 747 jet known as "Cosmic Girl." This unique aircraft is specially modified to carry Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne rockets aloft for air launches. Stratolaunch's acquisition of this iconic jet will allow them to explore new avenues in the air launch industry.
Another participant in the auction was Launcher, a subsidiary of Vast Space, which successfully bid $2.7 million to purchase Virgin Orbit's facility located in Mojave, California. This deal also includes the acquisition of certain machinery, equipment, and inventory associated with Virgin Orbit's operations. Launcher aims to leverage these assets to strengthen its presence in the aerospace industry and further its own ambitions.
The agreement between Virgin Orbit and Stratolaunch regarding the sale of the 747 jet was reached during the earlier stages of the bankruptcy process. This agreement solidified Stratolaunch's position as the primary bidder for the aircraft, providing clarity and direction amidst the uncertain financial circumstances faced by Virgin Orbit.
Virgin Orbit filed for bankruptcy protection on April 4 after unsuccessful attempts to secure additional funding and a subsequent decision to lay off a significant portion of its workforce. The sale of its assets represents a crucial step in the company's restructuring efforts, allowing for the potential revitalization of its operations under the ownership of established aerospace players.
While the sale of assets and equipment is a significant development for Virgin Orbit, the company still faces challenges ahead as it navigates through bankruptcy proceedings. The funds generated from the auction will help address some of the outstanding financial obligations and potentially pave the way for the company's resurgence in the highly competitive commercial space industry.
This story is developing. Stay tuned for updates.
ULA has announced a last-minute delay in the engine flight readiness testing for its highly anticipated Vulcan rocket. The test fire, originally scheduled for today, was halted approximately three hours before the planned ignition.
The Spaceport Company has successfully demonstrated their capability to conduct launches from a floating platform in US territorial waters for the first time.
Astrobotic to provide cargo systems as part of the Blue Origin National Team's, who won NASA's Sustainable Human Landing System Contract for the Artemis program last week.
NASA has selected Blue Origin's new version of Blue Moon for the 2nd Human Landing System contract.
As the countdown begins for the final launch of the Ariane 5 rocket, the space industry prepares to bid farewell to one of the most reliable workhorse rockets in recent history.