Virgin Orbit announces satellite business investments
Virgin Orbit has acquired a 17.5% stake in geospatial analytics company Hypersat. This partnership expands Virgin Orbit’s space solutions by providing highly accurate electro-optic and hyperspectral imagery capabilities, which can provide vital information to customers in the agriculture, defense, energy, insurance and minerals industries, as well as others. The investment by Virgin Orbit is part of the company’s strategy to leverage relationships with its satellite launch customers and space solutions end-users.
Virgin Orbit has already announced investments in BigBear.ai, Arqit Quantum and Sky and Space Global.
Previously, Hypersat shared that it has selected Virgin Orbit to launch its six-satellite constellation, which is being built by an international team led by QinetiQ and includes Redwire, Millennium Engineering and Integration, and Brandywine Photonics.
“We’re thrilled to continue our push forward into space solutions as a key vertical for Virgin Orbit’s growth through our expanding partnership with Hypersat,” said Jim Simpson, Chief Strategy Officer of Virgin Orbit. “By providing our customers with more responsive Earth observational data, we’re expanding the ability to better understand the planet, to make more efficient use of our natural resources, and to be better prepared to respond to crises. Hypersat has a great technology solution and an excellent developing capability that meshes well with our other space solutions to provide a complete package of useful data to drive critical decisions.”
Derek Woods, Founder, President and CEO of Hypersat LLC, added: “We are extremely pleased to have Virgin Orbit join us as an investor. Hypersat’s plan to be the premier provider of hyperspectral and longwave earth observation imagery complements Virgin Orbit’s broader space solutions strategy.”
Virgin Orbit took part in a Series B fundraise for SatRevolution, a Polish developer and manufacturer of nanosatellites and nanosatellite technologies. The transaction values SatRev at approximately $150 million and will support its business development.
This follows a strategic partnership established by SatRev and Virgin Orbit earlier in the year, under which both companies seek to develop business applications for the use of nanosatellites.
SatRev has already launched two satellites with Virgin Orbit on its Tubular Bells: Part One mission. And two more SatRev satellites will be launched on Virgin Orbit’s next mission, Above The Clouds. SatRev and Virgin Orbit plan to jointly offer up to 500kg of hosted payload services on LauncherOne rockets, turnkey solutions for rapid deployment of space services, and much more.
“The world needs Earth Observation data with higher revisit rates at more affordable prices, and SatRev will address that need,” said Grzegorz Zwolinski, co-founder and CEO of SatRev. “After four years of research and development by multi-disciplinary teams of scientists and engineers, we are ready to go to market. Our partnership with Virgin Orbit will help us to develop critical relationships with existing and new customers and to give us speed, momentum and the resilience to deliver over the long term.”
Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart added: “Small satellites are now doing heavy lifting across the space sectors and as the technology has grown globally SatRev has been moving innovation forward at pace. With our continued collaboration, Virgin Orbit and SatRev will drive capabilities into new markets, enabling applications for Earth observation and more – applications that yesterday were only dreams. Working together, we will continue Virgin Orbit's mission of opening space for good."
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