Branson’s Virgin Orbit Plots U.K. and Japan Launches in International Push
(Bloomberg) -- Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc. is targeting mid-2022 for two rocket launches from the U.K. and plans a broader international expansion that will include flights from Japan.
The company plans six launches this year, including one this week from the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Dan Hart said Tuesday on a briefing call with reporters. He expects to reach an output of 20 rockets from Virgin’s Long Beach, California, factory in 2023.
The global push could include a launch from Japan as early as next year, Hart said, and Virgin has also explored Brazil as an option. The company, which went public last month after merging with a blank-check firm, is preparing to launch U.S. Space Force missions from Guam as soon as next year.
The company plans to launch satellites Wednesday for three customers, including Spire Global Inc. and the U.S. Defense Department, from a Boeing 747 that takes off in Mojave, California. Timing of the European launches will be dictated by the U.K. government licensing process, Hart said.
Virgin Orbit’s shares rose 28% as of 3:11 p.m. in New York trading, underscoring the volatility of the stock since the merger.
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