The Hustle

Branson’s Virgin Orbit launches to public with $3.7B SPAC deal

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, which launches small satellites, prepares to go public in a $3.7B SPAC deal.


August 25, 2021

Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

The latest in the Billionaire Space Race: Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit will go public via a SPAC merger expected to raise $483m for the company and valued at $3.7B.

Virgin Orbit will merge with SPAC company NextGen Acquisition and trade as NGCA before converting to VORB later this year, per CNBC.

Notably, Virgin Orbit is not the space tourism company that recently launched Branson into space 9 days before Jeff Bezos’ suborbital adventure.

Wait, how many space companies does this guy have?

Two, on top of Virgin Group’s many other endeavors, like Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Hyperloop, and Virgin Wines.

How Virgin Orbit works

Instead of launching satellites from the ground, Virgin Orbit uses a modified Boeing 747 called “Cosmic Girl” to carry its rocket, “LauncherOne,” to an altitude of ~35k feet. The rocket then separates from the plane and brings the satellites to orbit.

LauncherOne can carry ~1.1k lbs each trip. In June, it successfully launched 7 satellites, including the Netherlands’ 1st defense satellite.

Virgin Orbit hopes to be profitable by 2024…

… and hit $2.1B in revenue by 2026. This year, it expects $15m in revenue, including $10m from national security/defense customers and $5m from commercial launches.

Hey, does Branson keep telling you how you can win a trip to space while you’re just trying to watch ASMR videos on YouTube, too?

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