WTR Fireside Chat with Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart

  • We hosted Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit on, December 20, 2021 as part of our WTR Fireside Chat Series. We took a deep dive into Virgin Orbit and the satellite launch business. The event is available on demand, and is open to all investors.
  • NextGen Acquisition Corp II is merging with Virgin Orbit and will trade on Nasdaq under the symbol VORB. With the world’s first air-launched, liquid-fueled launch system, it is disrupting the satellite launch market and is projected to grow revenues to over $2 billion by 2026.
  • Hart detailed how Virgin Orbit is the first company to have a commercially viable liquid-fuel, air-launching satellite system. The company’s three successful launches this year have caused much interest and the company has a $300 million backlog of business. Hart believes, that with its unique ability to quickly launch from nearly any airport, Virgin Orbit is poised for significant growth. He also talked about deals with the UK, Japan, and Brazil for space ports, and highlighted that there is a “huge chasm between being an aspirational launch company and being an operational launch company.”
  • Virgin Orbit’s design advantages over its competitors include: (1) quickly launching from anywhere at any time, (2) higher reliability as evidenced by its commercial launch records and simpler propulsion system (2 engines vs. up to as many 11 engines on competitors), (3) lower cost, weather flexibility, and long-range capabilities, and (4) significantly lower environmental impact. No other provider can offer these capabilities, leading to markets that only VORB can service.
  • The company operates in three markets and its $72 billion TAM is part of a growing $1.1 trillion space economy. Its markets include: (1) Small-Satellite Launch Market – $25 billion TAM in commercial, civil, and national security launches, primarily targeting low Earth orbit; (2) Space-Based Connectivity Market – $30 billion TAM in specialized Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications like ship management, pipeline monitoring, intelligent agriculture, and connected aircrafts; and (3) National Security Market – $17 billion TAM in missile defense targets and hypersonic applications.
  • Virgin Orbit estimates more than 50% of 2022 forecast revenue is already accounted for by active contracts. The company has $2.3 billion in identified opportunities and $1.3 billion in active proposals. The long-term nature of its launch contracts, and its customer wins in 2021, give it enough confidence to publicly forecast a 5-year CAGR of 166%.

Virgin Orbit has developed a proprietary air-launch technology coupled with outstanding manufacturing infrastructure and a proven team to transform space access for a diverse and global customer base. Since its founding in 2017, Virgin Orbit has developed the world’s first air-launched, liquid-fueled launch system, making it the premier dedicated satellite launch service.

The company’s most recent successful launch, conducted on June 30, 2021, delivered satellites for commercial and national security customers from the US and abroad directly into their target orbits. In January 2021, the company debuted its launch capability by successfully launching satellites for NASA.

Virgin Orbit uses a customized 747 aircraft as a mobile launch site, a flying mission control, and a fully-reusable first stage vehicle. By beginning each mission at approximately 35,000 feet above sea level and already travelling at a high speed, the simple and reliable LauncherOne rocket achieves a significant performance advantage over grounded launch sites while reducing local carbon emissions and acoustic impacts at the launch site when compared to a traditional ground launch.

The mobility of the system also allows Virgin Orbit to bring launch capabilities to dozens of nations that currently have space agencies and satellite industries but no domestic launch capability. The company has been selected by the United Kingdom and Brazil to bring launch to those nations’ shores, in addition to Virgin Orbit’s announced launch site in Japan.

Virgin Orbit’s ability to launch responsively from any location around the world also gives it a valuable national security role in ensuring the resiliency and replaceability of critical satellite infrastructure assets.

See all our report and videos on Virgin Orbit on our website.

We hosted Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit on, December 20, 2021 as part of our WTR Fireside Chat Series. We took a deep dive into Virgin Orbit and the satellite launch business. The event is available on demand, and is open to all investors


John Roy: Well, good morning investors. I’m John Roy, Managing Director here at Water Tower Research and I’m very pleased to have Dan Hart, the CEO of Virgin Orbit here today to discuss the company and its opportunities.

Before we begin today’s call, we’d like to remind everyone that we may make forward looking statements under federal securities laws, including with respect to the proposed business combination between NextGen Acquisition Corp. II and Vieco USA, Inc., as well as other future events concerning Virgin Orbit’s business or Virgin Orbit’s financial outlook.

Any forward-looking statements are based on Virgin Orbit’s historical performance as well as the parties’ current plans, estimates, and expectations. The inclusion of such forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by any of those parties that future plans, estimates, or expectations will be achieved.

Such forward-looking statements are subject to...

Large thumb output onlinejpgtools  25
Dan Hart


Virgin Orbit, Inc.

Over the course of his career, Dan has served in senior leadership roles across a wide range of aerospace programs, spanning human spaceflight, satellite development, launch, and missile defense, and running through all phases of the aerospace product life cycle, from research and development through design, production, and spaceflight operations. Dan currently serves as President and CEO for Virgin Orbit, Richard Branson’s pioneering commercial space firm, which launches small satellites into space from a rocket carried under the wing of a modified Boeing 747. It is Virgin’s contribution to the massive transformation going on in space technology and has the clear goal of opening access to space to improve life on Earth.

Dan joined Virgin Orbit after more than three decades of aerospace leadership at the Boeing Company, where he most recently served as Vice President of Government Satellite Systems. In that position, he oversaw Boeing's government satellite programs, developing and managing missions for the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA, and other national programs. Dan’s portfolio included marquee programs such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Wideband Global SATCOM, the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) system, and the X-37 spaceplane. Outside of Virgin Orbit, Dan serves on the U.S. Investment Advisory Council (IAC), which advises the Secretary of Commerce on the development and implementation of strategies and programs to attract and retain foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. Additionally, in early 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom selected Dan to join the Governor's Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, which works to develop actions government and businesses can take to help Californians recover from the COVID-19 induced recession.

Dan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the State University of New York at Albany and attended the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. He is a passionate and committed advocate for STEM education and serves on the Executive Board of the California Science Center, as well as the Dean’s Advisory Council for California State University, Long Beach’s College of Engineering.


Water Tower Research (“WTR”) is a professional publisher of investment research reports on public companies and, to a lesser extent, private firms (“the Companies”). WTR provides investor-focused content and digital distribution strategies designed to help companies communicate with investors.

WTR is not a registered investment adviser or a broker/dealer nor does WTR provide investment banking services. WTR operates as an exempt investment adviser under the so called “publishers’ exemption” from the definition of investment adviser under Section 202(a)(11) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. WTR does not provide investment ratings / recommendations or price targets on the companies it reports on. Readers are advised that the research reports are published and provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities or the rendering of investment advice. The information p...