Virgin Orbit satellite spin-off makes its debut

LauncherOne deployment
An artist’s conception shows Virgin Orbit’s carrier airplane, Cosmic Girl, deploying a LauncherOne rocket for a high-altitude orbital launch. (Virgin Galactic Illustration)spac

Virgin Galactic says it’s spinning off its satellite launch operation, including the LauncherOne rocket development program, as a new commercial space company called Virgin Orbit.

The newly created company’s first president, Dan Hart, comes to the job from the Boeing Co., where he most recently served as vice president of government satellite systems.

“I’m thrilled that our small-satellite launch service has now progressed to the point it merits the formation of its own company, Virgin Orbit, and a new president in Dan with decades of deep experience and success in a broad variety of space programs,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said today in a news release.

Virgin Group now has three companies in its commercial space portfolio, which is known as Galactic Ventures.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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