Virgin Orbit Readies for Take-off
Satellite Launching Business
Targets $1 Billion Valuation
Richard Branson's satellite launching business Virgin Orbit hopes to raise $200 million in a round of funding. That would place the valuation of the company at $1 Billion. The money will be used to fund satellite launches and for capital expenditures. The Wall Street Journal first reported Branson's target of $200 million in funding.
747 Jumbo Jet Approach
Branson is using highly modified 747 jumbo jets to launch, from mid air, rockets carrying satellites and place them in orbit. The target market is small satellites ranging from the size of a toaster to a household refrigerator. The satellites are placed in low Earth orbit for highly sophisticated services ranging from commercial applications to national security information gathering. Launches can originate from any airports capable of 747 take-offs and landings.
Virgin Orbit is in direct competition with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and with Elon Musk's SpaceX. At the moment, SpaceX is leading the way in the commercially-owned space exploration and satellite launching industries. Musk has considerable NASA and corporate contracts to launch satellites and is building Starlink, his mega-constellation of satellites to provide the world with inexpensive internet services.