1 of 2 | Bankrupt satellite launcher Virgin Orbit has officially shut down after selling off its assets to three winning bidders at auction, the company confirmed Tuesday. File photo courtesy of Greg Robinson/Virgin Orbit
May 23 (UPI) -- Bankrupt satellite launcher Virgin Orbit has officially shut down after selling off its assets to three winning bidders at auction, the company confirmed Tuesday.
Virgin Orbit sold its 144,000 square-foot Long Beach, Calif., manufacturing facility and company headquarters to Rocket Lab for $16.1 million. Rocket Lab will also receive the company's 3-D printers and a specialty tank welding machine.
The California-based company sold its Mojave-based facilities to Launcher, a subsidiary of Vast Space, for $2.7 million. And its modified Boeing 747 jet, Cosmic Girl, went to Stratolaunch for $17 million.
While Virgin Orbit tried to find a wholesale buyer to keep the company's assets intact, it was unsuccessful.
"As Virgin Orbit embarks on this path, the management and employees would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to all stakeholders, including customers, partners, investors and employees, for their support and dedication over the years," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
"Virgin Orbit's legacy in the space industry will forever be remembered. Its groundbreaking technologies, relentless pursuit of excellence and unwavering commitment to advancing the frontiers of air launch have left an indelible mark on the industry."
Virgin Orbit was founded by British billionaire Richard Branson six years ago and was once valued at $3.7 billion. The company, which was spun out of Virgin Galactic, saw its LauncherOne rocket first reach orbit in 2021 to deploy a total of 33 satellites.
Virgin Orbit filed for bankruptcy protection April 4, three months after it failed to put nine satellites into orbit in what was supposed to be the first-ever satellite launch from Britain. The company also failed to secure new funding and laid off 600 employees, close to its entire workforce.
While Monday's auction raised $36 million, Virgin Orbit still has six rockets that are in various stages of assembly and its intellectual property to be sold, the company said.
According to court filings, the final sale hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.