Virgin Orbit, Sir Richard Branson’s Nasdaq-listed rocket launcher, is to open a store in Toowoomba, 100km west of Brisbane, and accept an offer to establish its third global launch site from local entrepreneurs, the Wagner brothers.
Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the ASX-listed Wagner Corporation (ASX: WGN), which operates the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, with the aim of providing satellite launch services from the airport using its LauncherOne system. the space company.
Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne rockets, founded by Branson five years ago, are launched into the air from a modified 747-400 carrier aircraft. The rockets are carried under the aircraft and launched into space from a great height.
Operations began last year and the Toowoomba launch project could be operational by 2024.
It comes as Queensland rocket company Gilmour Space prepares to begin launches early next year from its Bowen Orbital Spaceport in northern Queensland.
The Virgin Orbit deal will dedicate Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport to become a production center for the LauncherOne rockets, which are currently being manufactured in California and transform the area into an innovation hub for the aerospace industry.
Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart said it won’t be long before the company sends satellites to space from Queensland.
We are excited to partner with Wagner Corporation, one of the region’s most successful private companies, to bring the first national orbital launch to Australia,” he said.
“By combining their deep knowledge of infrastructure development and affinity for space travel with our proven, responsive LauncherOne system, we have all the ingredients to bring spaceflight to Queensland.”
Wagner Corporation chairman John Wagner said the partnership was a major boost for the region and the company’s vision for the airport and business park.
“Virgin Orbit will join Boeing and other international companies as part of Wellcamp’s new world-class, Aerospace and Defense Precinct and Campus, with Stage 1 to be completed by the end of 2024,” he said.
“Attracting global companies such as Virgin Orbit is a recognition of the strategic benefits that Wellcamp Airport and the aerospace and defense field bring, and we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”