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Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit space company files for bankruptcy

The California-based satellite launch company has set a May 14 bid deadline for interested buyers.
Richard Branson poses with a model of the LauncherOne rocket.
Posted at 9:02 AM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 09:02:11-04

Richard Branson's satellite launch company Virgin Orbit and its U.S. subsidiaries filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection plan Wednesday.

The filing comes after the company failed to secure long-term financing following a failed launch earlier this year.

"While we have taken great efforts to address our financial position and secure additional financing, we ultimately must do what is best for the business," CEO Dan Hart said in a press release. "We believe that the cutting-edge launch technology that this team has created will have wide appeal to buyers as we continue in the process to sell the company."

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The company proposed a May 4 deadline for any indications of interest in its assets, asking the court to approve bid procedures, and set a May 14 bid deadline for interested buyers, it said in a statement to investors.

To help fund the process, the California-based company said it has secured $31.6 million in funding from Virgin Investments Limited.

"We continue to make important progress and remain focused on positioning the company to complete our sale process to the benefit of all stakeholders," Hart said.

Virgin Orbit's January mission, using its LauncherOne rocket, failed to reach orbit and sent its payload of research satellites plummeting into the ocean.