“We have no choice but to implement immediate, dramatic and extremely painful changes,” chief executive Dan Hart said told employees, according to CNBC.
Virgin Orbit was founded by Branson in 2017 as a sister company to his larger spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, with the goal of building flexible space launch systems. The company’s LauncherOne rockets are designed to be air-launched from a modified Boeing 747- 400 carrier.
When the company went public in 2021, it was valued at $3.7 billion, but ever since it has lost money and struggled to fund its operations.
The layoffs will cost the company about $15 million, consisting of $8.8 million in severance payments and other employee benefits, plus about $6.5 million in costs related to finding outplacement services and other requirements of the WARN Act, a U.S. law covering mass layoffs.
The company’s stock plummeted 41 percent in premarket trading Friday.
This is a developing story and will be updated.