Virgin has just launched the latest satellite in Richard Branson’s push to win the space race. VOX Space will focus on fulfilling government contracts from the U.S. and its allies, according to TechCrunch. It will be run by longtime aerospace pro and Virgin employee Mandy Vaughn, who worked as the director of business development at Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit.
VOX is the fourth branch of Branson’s growing space empire: Virgin Galactic will take stars to the stars, Virgin Orbit will tote cargo, The Spaceship Company will build the, well, spaceships, and now VOX will focus on government work, which a source told TechCrunch would be roughly 10% of Virgin’s space business. Separating its government business from its commercial endeavors makes it easier for Virgin to take money from outside investors, like the $1 billion investment Virgin Galactic was promised from Saudi Arabia last week.
The company hopes to conduct 12 launches, with payload, by 2019, rocketing up to 24 launches by 2020. Virgin’s space technology has reportedly not been proven outside of test facilities yet, but that hasn’t stopped customers from signing up for the service. Virgin Orbit is fully booked through 2018 and mostly full for 2019.