Coming Down the Pipeline

As our first customer payloads take their victory laps around the Earth, we’re already looking ahead to the upcoming missions set to fly on LauncherOne later this year. In the wake of our hugely successful Launch Demo 2 mission in January, we've since announced the addition of two exciting new customers to our manifest: SatRevolution, a satellite company based in Poland, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). 

Our Netherlands contract featured heavily in our last newsletter, so let's turn our attention to our friends in Poland! 

SatRevolution has tasked us with launching the first pair of small satellites — STORK-4 and STORK-5 (nicknamed MARTA) — of their 14-satellite STORK constellation. Once deployed, STORK-4 and MARTA will collect multispectral medium-resolution imagery and data for agricultural and energy customers in the US, in Poland, and abroad.

SatRevolution's broader ambition is to become the largest worldwide operator of Earth Observation satellites, with a plan in motion to launch more than 1,000 satellites to Low Earth Orbit by 2026 to provide round-the-clock data collection. 

Photo Credit: SatRevolution
With a robust and rapidly moving pipeline, we're looking forward to revealing even more customers in the very near future. Stay tuned! 
Read More About SatRevolution
The Virgin Family Expands
Our team is now in the midst of a major pivot as we transition from focusing internally on developing our launch system to serving our growing customer base. To ensure we're providing the best service possible, we've added a few new experts to our talented executive team.

Kirk Pysher, former president of International Launch Services (ILS), is bringing over 30 years of experience in the design, development and operation of expendable launch vehicles to his new role as our VP of Mission Assurance, Quality and Safety.

Another recent addition is our new VP of Government Affairs Janice Starzyk, who previously led the consulting practice at Bryce Space and Technology, and also headed up commercial strategy and market intelligence for launch service providers United Launch Alliance (ULA) and ILS.
We capped off this series of announcements by revealing our new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Tony Gingiss. In his previous role as CEO of OneWeb Satellites, Tony led the company through the design, low-rate-initial production, pilot launches, and eventually full production of its broadband satellite constellation. Under his leadership, the company built a new factory and scaled to a production rate of two satellites per day — the successful realization of a fundamentally new approach to aerospace manufacturing.
Virgin Orbit COO Tony Gingiss
With our LauncherOne system now fully proven, it's time for us to scale up operations and look ahead to the expansion of our company. With a team this strong and experienced propelling us forward, anything is possible!

In the News

  • Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart caught up with Via Satellite editor Rachel Jewett to chat about our successful Launch Demo 2 mission, where we fit into the small satellite market, and what's coming up for the team next. Read the full interview in Via Satellite. 
  • Aerospace Testing International's (ATI) Ben Sampson recently took some time to get to know our Chief Engineer of Launch John Garvey, highlighting his responsibilities as one of our top technical experts. Check out their wide-ranging conversation in ATI's latest podcast.
  • Virgin Galactic announced this week the first six awardees of the Galactic Unite BLAST scholarship, fellowship and mentoring program. With support from Virgin Orbit, Virgin Hyperloop, Planet, and AEye, this initiative will provide these young scholars with paid summer internships, certified leadership and skills training, as well as job placement opportunities upon graduation. Read more in the Robb Report.

Virgin Orbit Celebrates: Black History Month

There's a lot to celebrate for Black History Month this year: as mentioned above, Galactic Unite announced the first six scholarship recipients of its BLAST program. On top of that, the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, which was created in 2020 to combat the underrepresentation of Black and African-American employees in the US aerospace workforce, also announced its inaugural class of fellows.

In addition to being matched with two personal mentors, this class of 43 outstanding Black undergrads have each earned an internship at a leading aerospace company and will receive a $2,000 cash grant for professional or school expenses. We're very excited to welcome Donovan N'Gum to the Virgin Orbit team; he's a first-year student studying aerospace engineering at North Carolina State University, and will join us as an intern later this year.

We've also been sharing some of the stories of our Black teammates making history right now at Virgin Orbit. If you haven't yet taken a moment to get to know some of them, visit our Instagram for the full series!

In Our Orbit

"Why Air Launch?"
Air launching an orbital rocket, much less a liquid-fueled orbital rocket, is no easy task — so why did we choose to pursue this classic technique for the new era of spaceflight? 

We tackle that question and explore the history and benefits of air launch in our latest video, produced in collaboration with our friends at Supercluster.

Also, in our January newsletter, we shared our first deep dive into the NASA-sponsored missions that flew onboard Launch Demo 2. In the time since, we've released two more deep dives, and it's a fascinating look into broad variety of missions folks are pursuing with small satellites.

Follow us on YouTube for the latest and greatest — and don't forget to subscribe, as we have more fun videos of our great adventures on the way!
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