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Virgin Orbit declares bankruptcy.

Photo: Virgin Orbit

Virgin Orbit, a spinoff of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, filed for bankruptcy protection with the SEC. The bankruptcy filing followed weeks of bad news for the company, including a halt to all activities, a quick search for more money to continue as a going concern, and massive layoffs to right-size to the company’s true budget, which today’s news shows were non-existent.

Virgin Orbit’s flagship first voyage from a brand-new British spaceport in January failed owing to an anomaly, and there was no indication when another attempt would be made.

Virgin Orbit was set out from Virgin Galactic in 2017 as the Branson-backed space corporation focused on suborbital flights for scientists and wealthy thrill-seekers. It has yielded some results but hasn’t reached the scale and cadence it wanted yet. Orbit, meantime, used modified 747-400 commercial passenger airplanes to launch tiny rockets to low-Earth orbit.

This system potentially allowed launches from any airstrip capable of hosting a 747 with some alteration, allowing flexibility. It was also meant to cut launch costs for light spacecraft clients.

In its bankruptcy petition, Virgin Orbit stated it might sell the firm or its assets.

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