Richard Branson could play a part in our upcoming star wars. The billionaire’s satellite-launch company Virgin Orbit has started a new venture, Vox Space, aimed at wooing government clients.
The Vox Space website states that the Manhattan Beach, California-based company “provides the national security community of the USA and allied nations with responsive, dedicated, and affordable launch services for small satellites bound for Low Earth Orbit.”
TechCrunch first reported on the new venture. A Vox Orbit spokeperson would not comment to TechCrunch officially about the company, but the report stated that a person with knowledge of Virgin Orbit and its spinoff firm said military and defense contracts will likely make up ten percent of Virgin Orbit’s overall business. Vox Space and Virgin Orbit did not respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
The new company is lead by Mandy Vaughn a rocket scientist who worked previously on the business development of Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic.
Vox Space plans to use Virgin Orbit’s LaucherOne rocket to send government-related satellites to space. Virgin Orbit launched in March, as a spinoff of Virgin Galactic, Branson’s space tourism company. In a blog about starting Virgin Orbit, Branson wrote:“By offering low cost and frequent service to space, the team is revolutionizing the small satellite market within the promising space economy.”
Now it seems Branson sees defense contracts as a part of that promising space economy. His space dreams are currently split into four companies: Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit, Vox Space, and the craft manufacturing arm, The Spaceship Company.
Last week, Branson got a major boost from the The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which invested about $1 billion into all of Branson’s space companies, including Virgin Orbit.
Update 11:10AM: A spokesperson sent Gizmodo the following statement from Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit:
At Virgin Orbit, we want to be responsive to the space launch goals of our government and the need to make more use of commercial services to further expand America’s leadership in space. Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne system is so appealing to our customers because of its extreme flexibility, reliability, and affordability—and these traits are just as important to government customers as they are to any of our commercial customers.