Virgin Orbit launch activity sold for parts to Vast, Stratolaunch and Rocket Lab

Virgin Orbit, once valued at $3.7 billion, has been cut to pieces.

The company has completed the auction of some of its assets, which have been put up for sale as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. In total, the three winning bids total approximately $36 million. .

Winning bids were submitted by Rocket Lab, Launcher (and its parent company, Vast), and Stratolaunch. According to court documents, Rocket Lab will get Virgin’s 140,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Long Beach, Calif., for $16.1 million; Launcher successfully bid for Mojave-based installs for $2.7 million; and Virgin’s “Cosmic Girl” plane and related assets will go to Stratolaunch for $17 million.

Stratolaunch had submitted a “hunting horse” bid for the modified Boeing 747 aircraft earlier this month. A stalking horse bid sets the minimum price floor for the assets, so it appears Virgin has not received any competing bids for this property.

TechCrunch has reached out to Rocket Lab, Stratolaunch, and Vast and will update the story if they respond.

Virgin Orbit filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 4 Bad news: In January, a failed rocket launch from Cornwall, UK, was followed by an announcement that ‘it was laying off most of its staff due to insufficient capital. The company went bankrupt after failing to secure additional funding to continue operations.

Virgin – to be distinguished from Virgin Galactic, a company that launches humans into space – had developed a new way to send small payloads into orbit using a modified Boeing 747 and a small rocket called LauncherOne. According to some estimates, Virgin Orbit spent more than $1 billion to develop the modified jet and rocket launch system.

Overall, winning bidders get a flight. Rocket Lab already has a massive footprint in Long Beach, and it will only benefit from the extra square footage and machinery, like 3D printers and specialized tank welding machines. Vast, which has ambitions to launch the first private space station, will secure Mojave’s leases for test beds and an aircraft hangar. And Stratolaunch, the company buying Cosmic Girl, gets the plane for only a small fraction of its development price.

According to court documents, the final sale hearing is scheduled for May 24 at 2:00 p.m. EST.



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