Virgin Orbit and Arqit Expand Launch Agreements

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Announce an extension to their collaboration that will accelerate space-based encryption services to private, defense, and intelligence customers globally
  • Arqit has contracted exclusively with Virgin Orbit for Arqit’s launch needs for up to 5 launches from Spaceport Cornwall beginning in 2023.
  • Virgin Orbit has acquired a quantum cloud encryption license from Arqit to provide encryption protection for its launch and space solutions businesses.
  • The two companies have previously announced a $5 million investment from Virgin Orbit into Arqit’s SPAC.

Virgin Orbit has signed a new launch contract covering two dedicated launches for Arqit Quantum, Inc., a global leader in quantum encryption technology, plus additional commitments. The two Arqit satellites delivered to Earth orbit by Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne air-launched system will be the core component of Arqit’s Platform-as-a-Service, delivering the root source of randomness to all Arqit data centers using Arqit’s groundbreaking Quantum protocol ARQ19.

Arqit and Virgin Orbit are collaborating on responsive space initiatives serving the nations of the Five Eyes (FVEY) international intelligence alliance, comprising of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Arqit announced in September at the G7 conference the creation of a program called “Federated Quantum System.” This is a private instance of Arqit’s QuantumCloudTM technology that allied defense departments requiring sovereign control over mission-critical encryption can purchase from Arqit. These long-term, high-value subscription contracts involve Arqit’s supply of ring-fenced dedicated systems. Arqit has committed to launch such additional customer-funded systems exclusively with Virgin Orbit, and that contract allows for up to five launches that will be realized as anticipated government contracts move forward to utilize Arqit’s services.

The parties are also pleased to announce that the QuantumCloudTM Software License signed between the companies in parallel to the launch services agreement will also enable Virgin Orbit to use Arqit’s world-leading platform to provide market-leading encryption to secure Virgin Orbit’s global infrastructure. Thus Virgin Orbit becomes the world’s first quantum-safe launch services provider.

Dan Hart

Dan Hart, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Orbit commented: “I am delighted to advance such a comprehensive collaboration with Arqit. Supporting Arqit’s long-term subscription agreements with its defense department customers is an important and rewarding business for us. Following a year of increased awareness of cyber risks to businesses and governments, we’re excited for the opportunity to provide our customers with the promise that Arqit’s unique QuantumCloudTM system can keep their mission safe.”

David Williams

I am delighted that another prestigious global brand has decided to use QuantumCloudTM to keep their customers’ assets safe,” said David Williams, Founder of Arqit. “It is also great to be able to rely on Virgin Orbit’s responsive launch capability to support the private instance contracts that we are selling to our government and defense customers. This sales campaign has proceeded well in the last few months. The revenues from these contracts are expected to provide a strong underpinning to our profitability whilst the global Platform-as-a-Service rolls out more generally. So it is critical that these systems are deployed when we need them, and Virgin Orbit can give that to us.

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