Virgin Orbit’s Statement on the Russian Federation’s Anti-Satellite Test

This week, the Russian military deliberately and recklessly destroyed a defunct satellite in orbit as a live test of an anti-satellite weapon. With the large debris field that resulted, many satellites will be at risk for years to come and even the International Space Station is now threatened. 

In addition to destroying the fragile space environment, this kind of sabre rattling is a clear reminder that the space infrastructure we rely on for our economy, for science, and for national security is threatened by human aggression.  

Virgin Orbit joins with the broader space community to universally condemn this destructive and irresponsible act. The threat posed by anti-satellite weapons has steadily grown since 2007, when China performed a similar test and created a similar debris field that is still being tracked today. In heeding the call from our U.S. government leaders and our allies as they respond to this development and strive to assure unfettered and peaceful space utilization, we at Virgin Orbit have been working to provide new and better options. This year we proved the LauncherOne System, which brings a new capability to launch from anywhere and insert replacement spacecraft quickly, efficiently, and unpredictably if our space infrastructure is ever damaged or degraded. Our hope is that with a deployed LauncherOne capability, which brings the ability to quickly and easily restore satellite assets in a crisis, nations will lose the motivation to ever attack a satellite in orbit and will never again intentionally spoil our orbital space environment.

– Dan Hart, CEO Virgin Orbit