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Virgin Galactic lays off staff

November 8, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Staff at space tourism business Virgin Galactic are being laid off. The employees were working at the rocket company’s Mojave Desert base.

Virgin Galactic will unveil its latest financial results after the market closes today [November 8th] when more detail will emerge. Currently it is only saying that there is to be a “strategic realignment” of resources.

Michael Colglazier, CEO at the company, told all staff that the realignment meant a related workforce reduction to support the production of its Delta Class spaceships.

His memo to employees said: “We spoke in our town halls last month about the success of our recent spaceflights and the incredible experience that is being delivered to our early astronauts. We also spoke about the need to focus our resources on the work that will create long-term financial health and success for our company. As we discussed, our Delta Class ships will drive the capacity, growth, and profitability of our company, and we must focus our efforts on bringing these ships into service.”

“I’m writing today to share news that we will be streamlining our work outside of the Delta program, and we will be making related reductions in both staff and expenses. This is a difficult decision, as reductions in our workforce have direct and indirect impacts on our team, our co-workers, and our friends. I want to share how I arrived at this decision, what the process will be for those who are leaving, and what happens next,” he added. “To profitably scale our business, we must first invest upfront capital to create a fleet of ships based on a standardised production model — the Delta Class ships. At the same time, it has been imperative for us to demonstrate the value and potential of our product by bringing our initial ships, Unity and Eve, into commercial service. Both of these initiatives consume substantial resources, and both have been critical to our company. We have successfully advanced both of these important efforts in parallel, and we have been able to support our funding needs along the way with access to capital markets.”

“Recently, however, uncertainty has grown in the capital markets. Interest rates remain high, which adds pressure to companies who are investing today for profits that will come in the future. Geopolitical unrest continues to expand, and the combination of these factors makes near-term access to capital much less favorable. We are going to succeed in this environment by focusing our full company efforts on the safe, efficient, and successful completion of our Delta programme that will allow us to create positive cash flow. By taking these actions now, we ensure Virgin Galactic continues to have access to the funding needed to deliver on our mission — bringing the wonder of space to both our existing customers and to the generations of customers who will follow,” he concluded.

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