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Virgin Orbit to Partially Resume Operations Amid Funding Talks 

By Rachel Jewett | March 22, 2023

      Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl plane ahead of the Jan. 13 launch “Above the Clouds.” Photo: Virgin Orbit

      Virgin Orbit, which paused operations last week to conserve capital, plans to incrementally resume operations on Thursday to prepare for the next mission as the company continues funding talks. 

      Virgin Orbit paused operations on March 16, disclosed in filings  to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The smallsat launcher has funding troubles, and had just $71.2 million in cash at the end of September 2022, after spending $45 million during the third quarter. Then in January, the company suffered its first failure in a high-profile first mission from the United Kingdom. 

      Virgin Orbit reported in SEC filings on Wednesday that it will incrementally resume operations on March 23 to work on preparations for its next mission. The company still has an operational pause for the rest of its workforce through March 26, and plans to resume operations on Monday, March 27.

      The company is engaging in “discussions with potential funding sources” to explore “strategic opportunities,” CEO Dan Hart said in the SEC filing. Hart said there is no assurance that discussion will result in a transaction, and the company does not intend to provide updates until there is a specific transaction to announce. 

      Reuters reported Wednesday that the company is nearing a deal for a $200-million investment from venture capital investor Matthew Brown.