In need of some positive coronavirus news? Try this.

Virgin Orbit has a mission to open space for everyone, and it’s not letting COVID-19 get in the way of that goal. In fact, the Virgin Galactic spinoff is actively working to ease the coronavirus burden on first responders and healthcare workers.

Virgin Orbit announced today that it has designed a “mass-producible ventilator” that it plans to start producing next week.

Virgin Orbit has developed a new mass-producible bridge ventilator to help in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Virgin Orbit team has been consulting with the Bridge Ventilator Consortium (BVC), led by the University of California Irvine (UCI) and the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), a group formed to spawn and nurture efforts to build producible, simple ventilators to aid in the current COVID-19 crisis. Pending clearance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Virgin Orbit aims to commence production at its Long Beach manufacturing facility in early April, sprinting to deliver units into the hands of first responders and healthcare professionals as soon as possible.

As the COVID-19 crisis worsens and the paucity of medical equipment becomes more and more clear, the Virgin Orbit team is strongly motivated to do all that we can to help. 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 — experts in designing, fabricating, programming, testing — who are eager to lend a hand.

Virgin Orbit says the ventilator’s design factored rapid scaling from the beginning, and it could even bring production to more facilities beyond its Long Beach location.

Our aim is to have a functioning, deployable bridge ventilator in production within the next week. Then, we’ll rapidly scale up to mass production in our Long Beach facility in addition to potentially activating other manufacturers as soon as it’s reproducible and production-ready. 

Bravo, Virgin Orbit.

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