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Bankrupt Rocket Firm Virgin Orbit Sells Assets and Ceases Operations

2023

In a rather explosive turn of events, bankrupt rocket company Virgin Orbit has announced its decision to shut down after selling its assets and equipment to several aerospace companies in a fiery auction. The company, which had filed for bankruptcy protection in April, failed to secure a funding lifeline and had to resort to drastic measures.

The bidders in Monday's auction included Rocket Lab, Stratolaunch, and Vast's Launcher, all vying for a piece of the rocket pie. The total amount of the bids reached a staggering $36 million, leaving Virgin Orbit's six rockets and intellectual property still up for grabs.

Rocket Lab successfully secured the company's headquarters in Long Beach, California, for a cool $16.1 million. The purchase includes assets like 3D printers and a specialty tank welding machine. Rocket Lab's founder and CEO, Peter Beck, expressed excitement about the acquisition, stating that it would bolster their production capabilities, particularly for their larger Neutron rocket.

Meanwhile, Stratolaunch, known for its ambitious plans in hypersonic flight testing, walked away with Virgin Orbit's 747 jet after submitting a "stalking horse" bid of $17 million. Stratolaunch is developing its own airborne system called "Roc" and hopes to use it as a platform for testing hypersonic technologies.

Not to be outdone, Launcher, a subsidiary of Vast Space, snatched up Virgin Orbit's facility in Mojave, California, for a modest $2.7 million. The purchase also includes machinery, equipment, and inventory. Unfortunately, Launcher declined to comment on their plans for the facility.

As the dust settles on this explosive auction, Virgin Orbit's demise highlights the challenges faced by the company. Despite its successful missions and groundbreaking technologies, Virgin Orbit struggled to raise funds and faced slow execution, ultimately leading to its downfall.

While Virgin Orbit's employees and management express their gratitude to stakeholders and acknowledge the company's lasting impact on the space industry, the auction marks the end of an era for this once multibillion-dollar venture. The bankruptcy court is set to approve the sales in a hearing on Wednesday, signaling the final curtain call for Virgin Orbit.

It seems the rocket industry can be as volatile as the rockets themselves, with companies soaring to great heights one moment and crashing down to Earth the next. For now, we bid adieu to Virgin Orbit and eagerly await the next thrilling chapter in the space race.

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