Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit is going public via a merger with a special purpose acquisitions company (SPAC), the company announced on Monday. The company will be valued at $3.2 billion or R48.5 billion.
The deal provides Virgin Orbit with $483 million or R7.3 billion in cash at close to help ramp up “rocket manufacturing to meet customer demand, and to fund growth in its space solutions business and Virgin Orbit’s ongoing product development initiatives.
Virgin Orbit has developed proprietary air-launch technology, coupled with world-class manufacturing infrastructure and a proven team to transform space access for a diverse and global customer base. Since its founding in 2017, Virgin Orbit has developed the world’s first air-launched, liquid-fueled launch system.
The company’s most recent successful launch – conducted on June 30, 2021 – precisely delivered satellites for commercial and national security customers from the US and abroad directly into their target orbits. In January 2021, the company successfully launched satellites for NASA.
It is selectively investing with constellation partners to provide end-to-end, value-added services for Earth Observation and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications, using the “Satellites as a Service” model. Virgin Orbit’s IoT offering will focus on connectivity applications for ship management, aircraft, pipeline monitoring, and intelligent agriculture, which has the potential to help improve efficiency across some of the world’s biggest industries.
“The Virgin Orbit team has proven its ability to create new ideas, new approaches, and new capabilities. They are building on the incredible foundation of their rapid transition into successful commercial launch operations to find new ways to solve big problems that uplift our customers’ amazing ideas, again and again,” Branson, said.
“I’m very excited we are taking Virgin Orbit public, with the support of our partners at NextGen and our other wonderful investors. It’s another milestone for empowering all of those working today to build space technology that will positively change the world.”
Also read: Wealthy Branson Back Safely From Outer Space