Branson to the Rescue! Virgin Orbit Ready to Mass-Produce Ventilators

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Pending design approval, Branson’s space company said they could start to mass-produce ventilators next month!

Though they’re one of the world’s foremost space tech companies, Virgin Orbit doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. Like many other subsidiaries of famous British billionaire playboy Richard Branson’s Virgin brand, they’ve the perception of being a plaything. After all, Branson is most known for his flashy personality, lavish lifestyle, and outrageous stunts. None of his Virgin subsidiaries, be it Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, or Virgin Orbit, owns its respective market. Sure, they’re major players in those markets, but each is Jeff Spicoli in its own way. But what if it were up to Spicoli to save the world? Well, that might be where we are, boys and girls. Virgin Orbit announced today they have a design and the capability to mass-produce ventilators needed for coronavirus patients. And they could start in a couple of weeks if it’s approved. 

Virgin Takes the Lead

Virgin Orbit is ready to mass-produce ventilators for coronavirus patients.

The Virgin Orbit portion of Branson’s pink empire runs out of Long Beach, CA. There, engineers worked with other employees and officials in partnership with the Bridge Ventilator Consortium to come up with a working design. The University of California Irvine and the University of Texas at Austin head up the consortium.

As the number of coronavirus patients rises both nationwide and worldwide, the specialty ventilator supplies are dwindling. When Virgin Orbit begins to mass-produce ventilators, they’ll be “bridge” ventilators. The idea behind these “bridge” ventilators is that they can be used to treat less-severe cases of COVID-19. That will free-up the more advanced ventilators so that more critical patients can use them. 

Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart commented on the change in focus. “On a normal day, we’re building rockets and other equipment for space launch. We are not medical doctors nor are we usually manufacturers of medical devices. But we do have a team of incredibly innovative and agile thinkers,” he said. 

To see Virgin Orbit and other agencies switch course in the face of this crisis conjures images of factories being repurposed during World War II. It’s good to know the space industry is ready to be a part of the solution!

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Brandon Humphreys

Brandon Humphreys

I'm a wizard. I write stuff and it goes from my head into yours - Magic! Apart from that, I am the Senior Editor for Space Porn, a veteran, a rock guitarist, and a teacher.

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