Virgin Galactic Spins Off Launcher Business

Cosmic Girl 747 with LauncherOne (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Our world class team has been steadily and diligently building capabilities in three related areas: human spaceflight operations; small satellite launch; and advanced aerospace design, manufacturing, and test. To remain leaders in these three fields, we have grown our organizational structure to match the industry landscape. Focused companies produce excellent outcomes, and while a diversified service set might be great in some fields, we want to grow in each of these areas that support each of these categories.

Effective today, our family of space companies numbers three. As with before, Virgin Galactic will be our commercial human spaceflight services provider and The Spaceship Company will continue to offer design, manufacturing and testing services to build vehicles for Virgin Galactic. And our small satellite LauncherOne team will become our newest company: Virgin Orbit.

Virgin Orbit will be led by President Dan Hart, who joins Virgin Orbit after a distinguished 34 years at Boeing, where he was responsible for all of the company’s satellite programs for the US government and several allied countries. As Boeing’s Vice President of Government Satellite Systems, he led efforts in all phases of the aerospace product life cycle, from R&D through development, production and flight operations, and has supported numerous space launch missions across human spaceflight, satellite development, launch vehicle development, and missile defense.

Virgin Orbit is the third company in Virgin Group’s commercial space portfolio, Galactic Ventures, led by CEO George T. Whitesides and owned by the Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS. Our three companies are developing world-leading aerospace products and services in the following categories, each contributing to our shared vision of opening space to change the world for good.

Galactic Ventures CEO George T. Whitesides: “Virgin Orbit will lead the world in responsive, affordable, dedicated launch for small satellites. Our new organizational structure positions each Virgin space company to achieve its full potential while remaining true to our shared purpose of opening space to all. It is a testament to the Virgin Orbit team that we start this chapter with our newest space company led by an exceptional individual like Dan.”

Virgin Orbit President Dan Hart: “The Virgin Galactic team has been boldly blazing the trail in a rapidly evolving space industry and I am thrilled to join the team. In 34 years at Boeing, I’ve had the honor to work on some of the most iconic and successful space programs in history including the Space Shuttle, the Delta launch program and satellite systems that have connected the world and protected our nation. Along the way, I’ve been privileged to work alongside incredibly talented engineers and industry leaders who have contributed to my own approach to innovation in space systems. The perfect next challenge is to lead Virgin Orbit’s entrepreneurial team through a transformative time for not only Virgin Orbit but also the industry. To me, the Virgin brand is about making life on Earth better, and we are going to fulfill that purpose by accessing Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to connect billions of people and enabling valuable applications of data from space through Virgin Orbit’s flexible, affordable, and reliable launch service.”

In the coming months, we will share more details, launch new websites and unveil Virgin Orbit’s new brand identity. In the meantime, please join Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company in welcoming our newest company, Virgin Orbit!