Virgin Orbit to Expand Fleet with Modification of Second Airborne Satellite Launchpad
- Virgin Orbit signs agreement to secure two new airframes to meet U.S. national security and its allies’ launch demands
- L3Harris will modify one aircraft, aims to deliver Virgin Orbit’s second airborne launcher by 2023
- New cargo configuration expected to enable foreign spaceport launch and transport of rockets, support equipment
LONG BEACH, Calif. & MELBOURNE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB), a leading satellite launch company, has signed an agreement with L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) to acquire two Boeing 747-400 airframes to support the growing need for U.S. national security and allies’ satellite launch demands.
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Cosmic Girl releases LauncherOne mid-air for the first time during a July 2019 drop test. Credit: Virgin Orbit
L3Harris will modify one of the newly acquired aircrafts to serve as an additional airborne launch pad for Virgin Orbit’s small satellite launch service, with delivery expected in 2023. L3Harris will also overhaul the platform with a new cargo configuration, which is expected to allow Virgin Orbit to deliver its rockets and ground support equipment in the same aircraft that will launch from foreign spaceports.
The companies previously collaborated to produce Virgin Orbit’s flagship aircraft “Cosmic Girl,” the first customized 747-400 aircraft to carry and deploy payloads to Low Earth Orbit under Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne program.
“Virgin Orbit is at an exciting juncture in our growth as a company,” said CEO Dan Hart. “As we expand our fleet to serve customers worldwide, we’re enthusiastic to once again partner with L3Harris.”
“It’s inspiring for our team to see L3Harris’ aircraft engineering and modification experience in action on a mission-enabling platform that has performed brilliantly in its space launch role,” said Luke Savoie, President, ISR Systems, L3Harris. “We’re excited to help double Virgin Orbit’s innovative fleet so they can serve their customers with greater capacity and mission flexibility.”
Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl has completed three commercial launches, successfully deploying 26 customer satellites into orbit for multiple commercial, government and military customers. The aircraft, which was previously acquired from Virgin Orbit’s sister company Virgin Atlantic, will continue to fly missions, including the first launch from the United Kingdom expected later this year out of Spaceport Cornwall.
About Virgin Orbit
Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) operates one of the most flexible and responsive space launch systems ever built. Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2017, the company began commercial service in 2021, and has already delivered commercial, civil, national security, and international satellites into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs. Learn more at www.virginorbit.com and visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @virginorbit, and on Instagram @virgin.orbit.
About L3Harris Technologies
L3Harris Technologies is an agile global aerospace and defense technology innovator, delivering end-to-end solutions that meet customers’ mission-critical needs. The company provides advanced defense and commercial technologies across space, air, land, sea and cyber domains. L3Harris has more than $17 billion in annual revenue and 47,000 employees, with customers in more than 100 countries. L3Harris.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to the Company’s ability to access sources of capital; its ability to grow market share in the developing space economy; market acceptance of its current and planned products and services and ability to achieve sufficient production volumes, as well as the factors, risks and uncertainties included in Virgin Orbit’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 31, 2022, as well as in its subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the Investor Information section of Virgin Orbit’s website at www.virginorbit.com. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause Virgin Orbit’s actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Virgin Orbit assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Virgin Orbit gives no assurance that it will achieve its expectations.
Integrated Mission Systems
Senior Director of Communications
Source: Virgin Orbit
Released May 10, 2022