Richard Branson's aerospace company Virgin Orbit announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after failing to secure long-term funding following a failed launch in January.
Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said that despite significant efforts, attempts to secure additional financing to keep the business running have been unsuccessful.
The announcement comes just days after the company said it would pause operations and lay off nearly all of its workforce. Impacted employees will reportedly receive severance packages, including a cash payment, continued benefits, and support in finding a new position.
In January, the company was to deploy satellites with a LauncherOne rocket launched from a Boeing 747, but the rocket failed to make it to orbit because its engine overheated.
Virgin Orbit was spun off from Branson's Virgin Galactic in 2017 and was aimed at delivering lightweight satellites to low Earth orbit using small rockets launched from a modified Boeing 757 plane. The billionaire is its largest shareholder, owning 75%. The second largest stake of 18% is owned by Mubadala, the Emirati sovereign wealth fund.