Virgin Orbit on Tuesday said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. File photo courtesy of Virgin Orbit
April 4 (UPI) -- Satellite launch provider Virgin Orbit announced Tuesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 protection as it looks to sell the business.
The filing was made in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware, it said, adding that it intends to use the Chapter 11 process to "maximize value for its business and assets."
"While we have taken great efforts to address our financial position and secure additional financing, we ultimately must do what is best for the business," Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said in a statement. "We believe that the cutting-edge launch technology that this team has created will have wide appeal to buyers as we continue in the process to sell the company.
"At this stage, we believe that the Chapter 11 process represents the best path forward to identify and finalize an efficient and value-maximizing sale."
Founded by British billionaire Sir Richard Branson in 2017, Virgin Orbit began commercial operation in 2021, launching a total of 33 satellites into orbit.
However, its filing for bankruptcy comes some three months after it failed to put nine satellites into orbit in January. It was to be the first-ever satellite launch from British soil.
Last month, Virgin Orbit executed a company-wide operation pause, furloughing 600 staff, while stating it would make a update in the coming weeks about its future, which fueled speculation that bankruptcy may be the California-based company's next step.
In its announcement Tuesday, Virgin Orbit said it has received a $31.6 million commitment from Virgin Investments to help fund the bankruptcy process and protect operations.
Upon approval, Chapter 11 protection is expected to make available the liquidity necessary for Virgin Orbit to continue operating as it seeks to sell the company, it said.
"I'm incredibly grateful and proud of every one of our teammates, both for the pioneering spirit of innovation they've embodied and for their patience and professionalism as we've managed through this difficult time," Hart said.
"Today, my thoughts and concerns are with the many talented teammates and friends now finding their way forward who have been committed to the mission and promise of all that Virgin Orbit represents."