Following the announcement of its merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) in the form of NextGen Acquisition Corp, Virgin Orbit now says it wants its own in-orbit satellite system.
Backed by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Orbit wants to transition from launching small satellites to building its own satellite constellation for Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Earth observation.
The merger with NextGen will provide Virgin with some $483 million in fresh capital (less the costs of the merger’s legal and other related fees).
However, in a post-announcement call with analysts with Greg Summe, co-founder of NextGen and Virgin Orbit’s CEO Dan Hart, the pair stressed Virgin’s low- cost launch facility and their development of LauncherTwo which would sit on top of the Boeing 747’s wing and “triple the performance”.
They talked about establishing a space solutions business which would include providing a constellation of satellites for IoT and Earth observation and which would serve the aviation, maritime and other sectors.
Virgin Orbit stated its first four satellites would launch in “early 2023”.