Virgin Orbit, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group satellite-launching subsidiary, has announced that it will lay off 85% of its workforce and cease operations “for the foreseeable future.”
The company had been struggling to secure funding in order to stay afloat and compete with larger players in the private space industry such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.
The announcement comes two months after its most recent mission, which failed in Cornwall, UK, due to a dislodged rocket fuel filter.
According to a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Virgin Orbit will immediately cease operations and lay off 675 employees across all departments.
Layoffs are expected to be completed by April 3rd, leaving the company with only 100 employees.
Virgin Orbit will pay approximately $15 million in severance payments and other costs associated with the company’s demise.
“Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to secure the funding to provide a clear path for this company. According to meeting audio obtained by CNBC, Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart stated, We have no choice but to implement immediate, dramatic, and extremely painful changes,”
In 2017, Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic spun off Virgin Orbit.