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Following the completion of its sixth flight in six months last week, Virgin Galactic has announced it laid off approximately 18 percent of its workforce (185 people), and plans to pause operations while it focuses on developing its next generation of spaceships.
"Virgin Galactic has demonstrated the repeatability of our spaceflight system and also showcased the overwhelmingly positive experience of our astronauts," Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier said in a statement. "With our third quarter cash and marketable securities position of approximately $1.1 billion, we forecast having sufficient capital to bring our first two Delta ships into service and enable our crossover to positive cash flow in 2026."
The Galactic 06 flight, scheduled for January is still planned to take place, said Aleanna Crane, Virgin Galactic vice president of communications. The next flight will be in the second quarter of the year and then flights will pause until two Delta Class spaceships are ready to go in 2026.
The layoffs occurred across California, Arizona and New Mexico sites, she confirmed. There are currently 840 people in the company. Crane could not yet cite the exact number of layoffs in Las Cruces.
"Our teammates are talented, purpose-driven and excel in their professions," Colglazier said during a public call, "and it is deeply unfortunate to part ways."
But, he said, after six human spaceflights in six months, the company has accomplished its primary business objectives of the Unity missions.
“The primary business objectives of Unity’s missions are to demonstrate the efficacy of our space flight system to build learnings that inform our Delta program and to showcase the incredible emotion, impact and value of Virgin Galactic’s spaceflight experience,” Colglazier said. “We have done that.”