Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit is to lay off 85% of its workforce after failing to secure funding.
It is the latest blow for the space company, which earlier this month suspended operations and furloughed employees as it struggled to acquire further backing.
In January this year, the company undertook what turned out to be an unsuccessful satellite launch from Spaceport Cornwall.
The layoffs will affect 675 Virgin Orbit employees.
The company’s shares plunged by more than 44% in after-hours trading in New York on Thursday.
‘Immediate, dramatic, painful changes’
According to CNBC, which first reported the news, Virgin Orbit chief executive Dan Hart said at a meeting with employees: “Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to secure the funding to provide a clear path for this company.”
He added: “We have no choice but to implement immediate, dramatic and extremely painful changes.”
An 8-K form Virgin Orbit filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission reads: “On March 30, 2023, the company announced a workforce reduction of approximately 675 employees, constituting approximately 85% of the company’s workforce in order to reduce expenses in light of the company’s inability to secure meaningful funding.
“Those impacted are located in all areas of the company.”
The layoffs come in the wake on Virgin Orbit’s attempt to launch the UK’s first orbital satellite launch in January.
The launch ended in failure due to a dislodged fuel filter part.
The rocket company had planned on another launch later this year.
Image credit: Postmodern Studio/Shutterstock
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