Virgin Orbit announced plans for its second attempt to shoot its LauncherOne rocket into orbit on Dec. 19 carrying with it small NASA research satellites. The first attempt failed in May after a propellant line ruptured after the first-stage ignition.

The Richard Branson-founded company said it's run a list of tests and upgraded various systems in advance of next month's launch.

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Virgin Galactic says it's signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to collaborate on the development of supersonic vehicles for civil applications.

The agreement also involves The Spaceship Company, a Virgin Galactic subsidiary that manufactures the SpaceShipTwo rocket plane and its WhiteKnightTwo mothership. The SpaceShipTwo model known as VSS Unity has already flown to the 50-mile-high edge of space twicein California, and this week it conducted its first gliding flight test at Spaceport America, its new home in New Mexico.

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M13, named after one of the brightest star clusters in the Northern Sky, has considerable star wattage of its own and is decidedly the most L.A. of all the L.A venture capital firms.

Co-founders Carter and Courtney Reum together boast around 170,000 Instagram followers and in more normal times frequently post pictures with celebrities at parties or from their travels around the world. Carter has been linked to dating Paris Hilton, who was interviewed by Courtney onstage at the Upfront Summit in January. Sir Richard Branson is a limited partner in the firm as is Arianna Huffington.

But, now that glitz appears on hold as the brothers grapple with a pandemic that hit right as the Santa Monica early-stage consumer technology firm was in the midst of deploying the $175 million in its second fund. COVID-19 has hurt consumer companies especially hard, including once high-flying brands in M13's portfolio like Bird, FabFitFun, and ClassPass (M13 is also an investor in dot.LA.)

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