In a bid to conserve resources for developing its next-generation Delta-class spacecraft, Virgin Galactic has announced a strategic realignment of its workforce and a pause in spaceflight operations starting in mid-2024. The company’s decision comes amid ongoing financial challenges and a need to streamline operations for long-term sustainability.
On Tuesday, Virgin Galactic laid off approximately 185 employees, representing 18% of its workforce, resulting in a total headcount of 840 employees. This move is expected to generate annual cost savings of around $25 million. The company also plans to reduce the frequency of its VSS Unity spacecraft flights to a quarter of the current rate before pausing operations entirely in mid-2024.
The decision to halt spaceflight operations temporarily is driven by the company’s focus on accelerating the development of its next-generation Delta spacecraft, which is designed to offer improved performance and a higher weekly flight rate. To support this endeavor, Virgin Galactic is establishing a new production facility in Phoenix, scheduled to open in mid-2024.
Despite the current pause in spaceflight operations, Virgin Galactic remains optimistic about its long-term prospects. The company expects to have sufficient capital to bring its first two Delta ships into service and achieve positive cash flow in 2026.