In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Virgin Orbit has said it’s laying off 675 employees, which works out to about 85% of the total workforce. The decision was made after the company failed to secure “meaningful funding”. It said that the redundancies will be made to all areas of the company and should be more or less complete by April 3.
It’s important to recognize that Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic are two separate entities and this news only affects Virgin Orbit. Virgin Orbit launches small satellites into space using its air-launched LauncherOne rocket while Virgin Galactic uses SpaceShipTwo to carry passengers to the edge of space for tourism purposes.
According to BBC News, the company already paused operations weeks ago to try and help its finances. Now, the company will reportedly put these operations on hold for the foreseeable future too. One of the company’s last blog posts was an update on a failed mission that took off from the UK in mid-February, it doesn’t look as though the company has done anything since then.
Virgin Orbit is a publicly traded company and news of it ceasing operations hasn’t gone down well at all. In after-hours trading, the company’s shares have fallen more than 44% which suggests that the appetite for holding their company’s shares is falling among investors. It’s worthwhile to point out that in the last year, the company’s shares have been valued at $7.59 but as of the market close were worth just $0.34.