By August of this year, a series of acquisitions had surged throughout the NewSpace sector, with investors finally solidifying many of their exits — although some were not where they expected them to be.
Throughout the United States, the rate of space industry exits has increased as private equity firms and holding companies acquired startups and businesses established decades ago.
Acquisitions in the NewSpace Sector
Thus far in 2020, private equity firms have made intriguing strides in acquisitions within the NewSpace sector. AE Industrial Partners acquired Adcole Maryland Aerospace and Deep Space Systems, a company that provides engineering services satellite specialists that it established to create Redwire. In turn, that entity acquired Made In Space, a pioneering in-space manufacturing and assembly company.
Other major firms like the company I have the privilege to run, Voyager Space Holdings, and Amergint Technologies Holdings have made noteworthy acquisitions. This year, Voyager purchased Pioneer Astronautics, an aerospace research and development firm which was founded by Robert Zubrin, the Mars Society founder and president. This marks Voyager’s second acquisition since launching in October 2019, the first being Altius Space Machines which is a world leader in space robotics, on-orbit servicing and other technologies.
Amerigent, part of Blackstone Tactical Opportunities, also purchased the space-focused precision optics company from Raytheon Technologies, an integral part of the Collins Aerospace group. The firm also bought Tethers Unlimited, which develops software-defined radios and manufactures space and propulsion technologies.
These acquisitions are just further evidence highlighting space as a long-term market and that major investors see its promise.
For several years, many space industry investors and entrepreneurs found a lack of exits with no initial public offerings or acquisitions. Now, in addition to a series of acquisitions, companies like Virgin Galactic have announced game-changing IPOs via reverse merger.
Exits During the COVID-19 Era
The current recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is not a typical time for exits to occur, but it doesn’t appear that much can hinder the progress of NewSpace acquisitions and the leaders shopping in the sector.
Unlike the travel or hospitality sectors, space companies can operate throughout the pandemic and there have been few delays for future programs. Space investors are then looking beyond the current public health crisis.