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posted by hubie on Friday May 26 2023, @04:10AM   Printer-friendly

Virgin Orbit to cease operations, sell assets of Richard Branson's satellite launcher:

Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit is shutting down less than two months after the satellite launch start-up filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to a Tuesday company announcement.

Virgin Orbit will cease operations and sell its assets to four winning bidders, the company announced Tuesday. Those bidders include three aerospace companies—Rocket Lab, Stratolaunch and Vast Space subsidiary Launcher—with combined bids totaling almost $36 million, according to court documents.

A sale hearing for court approval is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon and transactions are expected to close soon after, the company said.

"Virgin Orbit's legacy in the space industry will forever be remembered," Virgin Orbit said in a Tuesday statement. "Its groundbreaking technologies, relentless pursuit of excellence, and unwavering commitment to advancing the frontiers of air launch have left an indelible mark on the industry."

[...] Virgin Orbit was founded in 2017 by Branson, a British billionaire, in hopes of targeting the market for launching small satellites into space. Its LauncherOne rockets were launched from the air from modified Virgin passenger planes, allowing the company to operate more flexibly than using fixed launch sites.

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  • (Score: 2) by corey on Saturday May 27 2023, @12:20AM (1 child)

    by corey (2202) on Saturday May 27 2023, @12:20AM (#1308398)

    That quote is coming from themselves, so it’s definitely biased.

    But I think, at least they were trying something different rather than just rockets filled with explosive. There are benefits to using air breathing vehicles to get to high altitudes then using rockets the rest of the way.

    Maybe what they were referring to is the technical work they did, that it was groundbreaking. Yeah business wise it failed.

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  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:19AM

    by deimtee (3272) on Sunday May 28 2023, @03:19AM (#1308601) Journal

    You've got to look at it in terms of delta V.
    Mach 1 is about 3% of what you need to get to orbit. Lifting to 40km is less than 1km/s. Both of those are higher than what most air-breathing first stages achieve. You are adding an entire complex extra stage to the vehicle, and it gets you less than 10% of the way.

    If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.