The subsidiary and license for launch operations are expected to enable launches from Brazil to space as early as 2023. Operations at Alcântara Space Center closely align with Virgin Orbit’s mission to open space for everyone, from everywhere, as the locale is geographically one of the most advantageous places in the world from which to launch satellites into orbit.
Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) alongside the Brazilian Space Agency (Agência Espacial Brasileira; AEB) is pleased to announce that Virgin Orbit has been formally granted an operator’s license to allow LauncherOne launch operations in Brazil. The license is granted to Virgin Orbit Brasil Ltda. (VOBRA), a newly formed and wholly owned Brazilian subsidiary dedicated to bringing the LauncherOne air-launch rocket system to the Alcântara Launch Center (Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara, CLA).
The formation of the VOBRA entity for dedicated Brazilian space activities is designed to bring an important new capability to the country and economic value to the region. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system, which uses a customized 747 aircraft, Cosmic Girl, as its flying and fully reusable launch pad, will conduct launches from the existing airbase at the Brazilian site, flying hundreds of miles before releasing the rocket directly above the equator — a global sweet spot — or at other optimal locations identified for each individual mission.
Virgin Orbit’s launch system is expected to give Alcântara the opportunity to become one of the only continental spaceports in the world functionally capable of reaching any orbital inclination. All of the equipment required for Virgin Orbit to conduct a launch to orbit is fully transportable, from the rocket, to the ground assets that prepare it for flight, as well as the aircraft itself. This capability enables the team to securely transport the entire system, conduct a launch campaign, and return to one of the company’s other facilities without the need for any further construction beyond the Brazilian airbase.
The Alcântara Launch Center has hosted several launches of suborbital rockets, but the facility has not yet been used to reach Earth orbit. By facilitating the introduction of that long-sought capability to Alcântara, Virgin Orbit, AEB, and the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB) hope to create a significant new competency for the area.
Upon fulfilment of all formalities required by the FAB and completion of all CLA guidelines, LauncherOne could potentially conduct the first domestic orbital-class launch to Brazil as early as 2023. “We are very excited to bring orbital launch capability to Brazil,” said Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit. “Our small footprint and unique mobile LauncherOne system allow us to work with the country in accomplishing its first ever domestic launch to Earth orbit, while accessing an array of orbital inclinations just two degrees south of the equator, and without the need for new permanent infrastructure. Leveraging the existing facilities at Alcântara Space Center is important to us in our commitment to sustainability and effort to open Space For Good. We’re keen on working together to take on the upcoming possibilities.”
"Virgin Orbit is an outstanding space transport provider, very suitable for prompt and dedicated small sat launches,” said Carlos Moura, President of the Brazilian Space Agency. “We do believe Virgin Orbit can improve its capacities by taking off from the Alcantara Spaceport. Nice weather, wonderful airfield, free airspace, and proficient tracking systems. Together, we can do much more.”
About Virgin Orbit
Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) operates one of the most flexible and responsive space launch systems ever built. Founded by Sir Richard Branson in 2017, the company began commercial service in 2021, and has already delivered commercial, civil, national security, and international satellites into orbit. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets are designed and manufactured in Long Beach, California, and are air-launched from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft that allows Virgin Orbit to operate from locations all over the world in order to best serve each customer’s needs. Learn more at www.virginorbit.com and visit us on LinkedIn, on Twitter @virginorbit, and on Instagram @virgin.orbit.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including with respect to the expected Brazilian space activities and launches. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to the Company’s ability to access sources of capital; its ability to grow market share in the developing space economy; market acceptance of its current and planned products and services and ability to achieve sufficient production volumes, as well as the factors, risks and uncertainties included in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2022, as well as in the Company’s subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and the Investor Information section of the Company’s website at www.virginorbit.com. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Virgin Orbit assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Virgin Orbit gives no assurance that it will achieve its expectations.
Principal Communications Officer, Virgin Orbit
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