Virgin Orbit – Richard Branson’s Small Satellite launch to Counter Bezos and Musk

16th Sep 2020
Virgin Orbit

Richard Branson’s Virgin group faced many problems during the time of the Covid19 pandemic. The group saw the entire Virgin Atlantic airline fleet grounded, facing the prospect of over 3,550 job losses, and needed about $1.9 billion to rescue the business. Subsequently, William Pomerantz, Vice President of special projects at Virgin Orbit, thought of motivating the group.

Virgin Orbit – A Small Satellite Idea

William Pomerantz saw the Virgin Boeing 747 called “Cosmic Girl” as the prospective way of steering Richard Branson and the group to new horizons. The idea is to send small satellites into space by attaching them to the wings of the Virgin Boeing 747.

The small satellite blastoff was born out of Branson’s more extensive spaceflight project Virgin Galactic in March 2017, with the plan to send small satellites into orbit for companies worldwide. Here they had a chance to do something extraordinary. “We’re all reading that same news and seeing the social media pile-on and everything else,” Pomerantz said on the world’s circumstances, emphasizing it is a motivation to think out of the box. 

At the start, the project faced a series of challenges. For instance, by the time the Cosmic Girl flew up, with a Virgin Orbit rocket attached to its wing, Branson had invested $700 million into the venture. However, to his surprise, the “Cosmic Girl’ and the small satellite rocket failed to operate on what was termed as high-pressure fuel line. 

Activities behind the Virgin Orbit Idea

Richard Branson and the Virgin group saw the need to challenge SpaceX and Blue Origin by launching the Virgin Orbit small satellite launch project. The project aimed at replacing the traditional vertical launch pads used for sending satellites into space.

The creative Virgin Orbit plan is catching up with SpaceX and Blue Origin in the scramble for US taxpayer money by attracting various new customers such as NASA and US universities. The Small Satellite launch project targets the creation of reliable connections for businesses and other institutions.

There is a long way to go. Richard faces the challenge of surviving the effects of the pandemic as compared to Musk and Bezos, who have easily adapted during the pandemic. For instance, Richard was forced to sell some of his investments to bail out the business empire. According to Forbes, he is worth about $4.4 billion, while Musk stands at about $102.9 billion, and Bezos is at the $200 billion mark.

Despite the disparities in net worth, Pomerantz noted that Richard Branson is a genius regarding how he approaches failures through questions that demand self-reflection and all efforts for future improvement. Through the answers, he has the freedom to grasp what others would not, and the Virgin Orbit Small Satellite launch project would be a success.

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