Cash-strapped Virgin Orbit is to begin an “incremental resumption” of operations in preparation for its next launch mission following a suspension of all activities on 16 March.

Announcing the move in a 21 March stock market notification, the company said it will “initiate an incremental resumption of its operations” beginning on 23 March.

Virgin Orbit 747 Cosmic Girl

Source: Virgin Orbit

Company uses modified 747-400 as launch platform

However, the “operational pause” covering the remainder of its workforce is expected to continue through 26 March, with it “planning for a further resumption of operations” the following day.

Virgin Orbit had implemented the “operational pause” to conserve cash while it conducted discussions with potential funding sources and “explores strategic opportunities”.

“There can be no assurance that these discussions will result in any transaction. The company does not currently intend to disclose further developments with respect to these discussions, unless and until its board of directors approves a specific transaction or other course of action requiring disclosure,” it adds.

Virgin Orbit uses a modified Boeing 747-400 to carry its LauncherOne rocket to high altitude, where it is then deployed to place small satellite payloads in orbit.

Its most recent mission, a sortie from Spaceport Cornwall in the UK, ended in failure after an anomaly was detected shortly after the LauncherOne vehicle was released.

Accounts for the nine months ended 30 September 2022 – the most recent available – show an operating loss of $149 million on income of $33 million.