business

Virgin Orbit bankruptcy casts shadow over Japan's space dreams

29 Comments
By Eimi Yamamitsu

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Thomson Reuters 2023.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
Login to comment

The bankruptcy filing by Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc has dealt a blow to Japan's hopes of building a domestic space industry, with plans for a Kyushu-based spaceport designed to attract tourism on hold for lack of funding.

Many of Japan's post-Bubble economic initiatives have seem to be predicated on following foreign billionaire boondoggles like this.

Which inevitably end up in massive losses for government subsidized business ventures.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The space industry was a million times more effective when it was under state control. The technological achievements of NASA and the Soviets were mind-boggling during the 1960s. Today's private-sector operators, by contrast, seem to be stumbling around aimlessly and inconsistently.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

The space industry was a million times more effective when it was under state control. The technological achievements of NASA and the Soviets were mind-boggling during the 1960s.

A conveniently overlooked fact in the corporate-funded fake new blizzard.

Russia went from a feudal agricultural economy with serfs in the 1920s to putting the first Sputnik satellite into space and the first man in space in the 1960s under hardcore, stated goal of abolition of private property Marxism.

All of the gains from the IT boom have failed to replicate such spectacular technological successes. So far at least.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

RE:Today's private-sector operators, by contrast, seem to be stumbling around aimlessly and inconsistently.

Not sure about that Jeff.

Space X has consistently set themselves a goal and achieved them.

Larger and more efficient rockets each time out. At This stage the largest in the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToLRZc_t0M8

Landing and reusing rocket bodies and components . On a barge in the ocean I might add.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sJlFzUQVmY

Consistently, safely and economically (that is relevant) delivering cargo and crew to the I.S.S.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eveJvqu2wg

Developing an automatic docking technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzKMDYVkKZ4

Produced more ergonomic space suits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LMwKwcMdIg

And I would not call plans and preparation to return to the moon and build a colony on Mars, "stumbling".

2 ( +9 / -7 )

If you look at the UK with nearly all its state owned companies sold off under Maggie Thatcher and the mess we are in because of it you can see why the space industry is also a huge failure ( excluding Musk's) in private hands.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Richard Branson's space dreams will always remain what they are: dreams. How many individuals on Planet Earth whose brains contain water would like to go sight-seeing in space?

Air travel on by plane is boring enough. Fatiguing enough. Space travel will be a hundred times more boring and, a hundred times more fatiguing and, a hundred thousand times more expensive.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

There’s nowhere to go out there except inhospitable planets

We owe it to ourselves to take care of this one

10 ( +14 / -4 )

NASA will make sure we drop stop contributing cash and drop out.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

How many individuals on Planet Earth whose brains contain water would like to go sight-seeing in space?

Certainly more than you think. A lot would like to space travel. And I am one of them.

Did you fly in something else than a commercial aircraft, which is boring according to you ? If not, try at least an helicopter or balloon flight.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"With SpaceX coming out with affordable rockets that can be used repeatedly, it would be better for Japan to compete in different activities and areas in space."

TRUE, but who knows what the future holds for SpaceX?!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Out of all the people, they trusted Richard Branson?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just like in Succession lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The space industry was a million times more effective when it was under state control. The technological achievements of NASA and the Soviets were mind-boggling during the 1960s. Today's private-sector operators, by contrast, seem to be stumbling around aimlessly and inconsistently.

Everything @Jeff said is correct! Most tech and science businesses are money pits. There is always a large trial-and-error process involved. That takes time, capital, and sometimes patience. The US government discontinued their rocket development and began to outsource it because Bush Jr. (another failure like Afghanistan and 911) ended the program. They began paying Russia for rides into space.

Musk success with Space X like Tesla is due to the United States government in particular the US taxpayers. His businesses rely heavily on US subsidiaries. Compare that to how his competitors are funding their businesses, and you will understand Musk's snake oil.

Musk is a corporate welfare recipient.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

the lesson here is never trust Richard Branson

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The space industry was a million times more effective when it was under state control. The technological achievements of NASA and the Soviets were mind-boggling during the 1960s. Today's private-sector operators, by contrast, seem to be stumbling around aimlessly and inconsistently.

With the US at least I’m not sure the situation has changed that much. Back then, like now, it was private companies building all that stuff - Saturn V rockets, moon landers, Gemini capsules etc etc.

The main difference is just the size of the budget. The government in the 60s was throwing vast sums at NASA, which in turn was giving out contracts to private companies. That funding level is way lower today, but the basic model of governance is mostly the same. SpaceX and these other companies make most of their money off of government contracts today just like Lockheed, etc did in the 60s.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

 How many individuals on Planet Earth whose brains contain water would like to go sight-seeing in space?

Hell I would! If my flight from Japan to Europe or North America, went into space, I think it would be a great adventure!

I would also love to pack the plane or rocket, with "flat-earthers" and let them see the "world"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Richard Branson has achieved many greats. I remember him from Camden Town, London selling records out of a phone box.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Musk is using low orbit as a landfill and shooting gallery for collisions with satellites that only last about 5 years.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Musk is using low orbit as a landfill and shooting gallery for collisions with satellites that only last about 5 years.

Yikes, some Starlink satellites are falling out of orbit — and more of the latest space news you may have missed

https://www.yahoo.com/news/space-news-starlink-satellites-orbit-pink-moon-richard-branson-nasa-165913306.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Forget it, the space exploration and industry was nothing a cheap game but an extremely expensive one. Richard Bronson was very rich indeed but he was nowhere to complete with state sponsored space industry like Russia or China does.

China is a space super power, it is a fact no matter whoever don't like it and if course their military use of space is inevitable. Japan is wasting your money over some unprofound projects that has little or no strategic values. For the Chinese, Japan's struggling to rival China is not a bad news at all, that just boost Communists China to invest more in space assets and they are capable to let you know their mights!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Using a Boeing 747 airliner to launch ballistic rocket like B52 does? What was that ? Aviation experts will tell you this is mission impossible.And Japan keep pouring money in such a silly game....

No wonder why Richard Bronson got richer than before by taking Japanese money. He has nothing to lose, he is not going to bankrupt,only the "Virgin Orbit" was bankrupted but leaving Japan in sad only!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's natural in an emerging commercial industry that MOST companies will fail. All Virgin Galactic had was brand it seems, no tech, no business or tech portfolio synergies.

Seems brand ain't what it used to be, certainly not in space, as what really matters is quality of your tech and NOT MUCH ELSE, especially not your country of origin!

Hence the term - GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY CULTURE, no 'country' mind-controlled idiots needed or wanted!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

With SpaceX coming out with affordable rockets...... it would be better for Japan to compete in different activities and areas in space.

OK Amen, the Japanese space industry is dead or half dead. No launching means you failed miserably!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

it would be better for Japan to compete in different activities and areas in space.

NOBODY wants country based ANYTHING, especially in space. Stupid legacy mindset, scares EVERYONE!

What matters, TECHNOLOGY PERFORMANCE, requires TOP TALENT, country of origin completely irrelevant.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

and that's right, KANJI NOT NEEDED

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

wonder why Richard Branson doesn't use some of his billions to help out.... oh! what's that word I'm groping for? g-something.... umm... gre..... damn, just can't quite conjur it....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In agreement with JT poster Clay: Kanji is not needed; in fact it is impeding Japan's progress...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Air travel on by plane is boring enough. Fatiguing enough. Space travel will be a hundred times more boring and, a hundred times more fatiguing and, a hundred thousand times more expensive.

Definitely. It is a dream, to go where no man has gone before. But in reality, not for humans. Sure, skydiving and what have you might be exiting, but that is an entirely different thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Musk success with Space X like Tesla is due to the United States government in particular the US taxpayers. His businesses rely heavily on US subsidiaries. Compare that to how his competitors are funding their businesses, and you will understand Musk's snake oil.

Tesla's competitors include other US auto manufacturer's that got bailed out by the government (e.g. GM), which in fact were the ones that lobbied for EV subsidies in the first place. And SpaceX's major competitor is the United Launch Alliance (Lockheed + Boeing) which is notorious for cost overruns and delays to the point where their latest rocket costs over 1 billion dollars per launch, all of which is put on the government's tab.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites