Richard Branson fires up his third space venture; Virgin Orbit

Nick Sanchez
March 4, 2017

"CEO George Whitesides' stewardship of our space companies and the team's progress in assembling LauncherOne helped us recruit a 34 year Boeing veteran, Dan Hart, to head up Virgin Orbit as president". Instead, the corporation's new aerospace company has a plan to fly a specially modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet into the stratosphere and launch a rocket strapped to the plane's belly, carrying a payload into space with far less effort than one blasting off vertically from the ground.

The company stated it will share more details in the coming months, launch new websites and unveil Virgin Orbit's brand identity. The Spaceship Company, Virgin Group's other space venture, will continue designing and testing aerospace vehicles.

Virgin Orbit: small satellite launch services, headquartered in Long Beach, CA.

The new company was operating under Virgin Galactic as LauncherOne, the namesake of the small satellite launch system that Virgin has been working on, and which is already in the "advanced phase of hardware testing for every subsystem and major component of the vehicle", according to the company's press release announcing the news.

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson: "It has been my longheld dream to open access to space to change the world for good".

Galactic Ventures is majority-owned by Virgin Group - but Aabar Investments PJS, a venture firm based in Abu Dhabi, holds a minority stake. This time, instead of sending people up to the outer edges of the atmosphere to experience weightlessness, Branson is to get involved with satellite launches.

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