Virgin Orbit's temporary pause on operations after a failed launch earlier this year has become a permanent move for almost all of the company's workers. CEO Dan Hart told employees in an all-hands call Thursday that operations at the satellite launch firm are ending for the "foreseeable future" and almost 90% of employees across all departments are being laid off. CNBC reports that Hart choked up as he told workers the firm had been unable to secure a funding lifeline. "We have no choice but to implement immediate, dramatic, and extremely painful changes," he said.
Hart said the company would provide a severance package for every departing employee—and a "direct pipeline" will be set up for opportunities at sister firm Virgin Galactic. According to a securities filing, 675 workers will be laid off, leaving around 100 employees. Company founder and majority owner Richard Branson has promised to inject $11 million to cover most of the cost of severance payments, the Guardian reports. The company's share price slumped to 34 cents Thursday, down from more than $7 a year ago. Branson has thrown more than $55 million to Virgin Orbit through the Virgin Group conglomerate in recent months, but he appears to be done funding it, TechCrunch reports. (Read more Virgin Orbit stories.)