Virgin Orbit teams up with Wagner Corporation to bring orbital launch to Australia

Virgin Orbit's Cosmic Girl soars through the sky in the Above The Clouds mission
Virgin Orbit
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
22 September 2022

Virgin Orbit could be launching satellites into space from Australia as soon as 2024, thanks to a new collaboration with Wagner Corporation.

Wagner Corporation is one of the region’s most successful privately-owned companies and owns the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and Business Park in Queensland. Together, Virgin Orbit and Wagner Corporation are exploring the potential to certify Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport as a national spaceport to perform an orbital launch demonstration in 2024.

Virgin Orbit prepares for the Above the Clouds launch
Virgin Orbit

The two companies are looking to catalyse the maturing Australian small satellite and space solutions market, stimulate local economic growth, and support commercial and civil endeavours. It will also provide Australian defence and government with a flexible, responsive and flight-proven national launch capability in support of a wide range of mission applications.

The collaboration will focus its initial efforts on tailoring Virgin Orbit launch operations from Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport to comply with Australian launch licensing regulatory requirements and spaceport-specific operations. Both companies are looking to develop a roadmap for how Virgin Orbit’s Mobile Ground Support Equipment and other necessary infrastructure could be built and staged at the airport to provide Australia with a resilient and proven national launch capability. This would also transform the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport into Australia’s leading space industry innovation centre.

Cosmic Girl being prepared for takeoff
Virgin Orbit

“At Virgin Orbit, we look to a day soon when satellites fly to space from Australia,” said Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart. “We’re thrilled to be working alongside Wagner Corporation, one of the region’s most successful privately-owned companies, to bring the first national orbital launch to Australia. Combining their deep knowledge of infrastructure development and affinity for aerospace with our proven, responsive LauncherOne system, we have all the ingredients to bring spaceflight to Queensland.”

Wagner Corporation Chairman John Wagner added: “Virgin Orbit’s selection of Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport for its newest national spaceport, to perform satellite launches, was extremely exciting and a further significant boost for Queensland and Australia. Wellcamp Airport and Business Park is on track to becoming one of the most sustainable carbon neutral destinations internationally.

“Virgin Orbit will join Boeing and other international companies as part of Wellcamp’s new world-class, Aerospace and Defence Precinct and Campus, with Stage 1 due for completion by the end of 2024. Attracting global companies such as Virgin Orbit is recognition of the strategic advantages that Wellcamp Airport and the Aerospace and Defence Precinct offers, and we are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”

Virgin Orbit is currently preparing for its first satellite launch from Spaceport Cornwall in the UK, which is due to happen later this year.

Visit Virgin Orbit to find out more.