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Good morning. Now’s as good a time as ever to remind you, dear readers, that we are willing to send you an exclusive newsletter and even physical Payload swag. All you have to do is refer space-inclined coworkers, friends, and family. The more you refer, the better the swag. 

In today’s newsletter:
🛰️ Redwire updates
🕊️ France signs accords
💸 The term sheet

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A Q+A with Redwire’s Andrew Rush

Image: Redwire

Last month, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson visited Redwire Space’s headquarters in Jacksonville, FL, and said the city has become “the center for space technology.” To be fair, Nelson was a three-term Florida senator…so he’s not entirely impartial. 

Nonetheless, Redwire has helped make Jacksonville a space hub, with its corporate HQ and 37,000 square foot facility. Redwire was one of many space companies to SPAC in 2021, and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange with the $RDW ticker in September.

  • Redwire’s technology capabilities span 3D printing, deployable structures, solar power, avionics, and in-space biotechnology. 
  • Driven by M&A, the Florida company has steadily built up a portfolio of capabilities. One especially notable acquisition was Made in Space. 
  • Redwire itself is the product of a 2020 merger between two companies, orchestrated by AE Industrial Partners. 
  • Redwire made ~$140M last year.  

Eyes on the prize 

Payload spoke with Andrew Rush, president and COO of Redwire, to hear more about the past, present, and future of the company. 

  1. Heritage: “We were the first to manufacture functional parts off the face of the planet,” Rush said. 
  2. In-space manufacturing: “The largest challenge for operationalizing” and adopting the technology “is actually getting those first operational customers.” 
  3. Corporate strategy: “We intentionally have brought together amazing technologies that have flight heritage, that are just penetrating markets, that customers trust…and [we’re] building upon that.” 
  4. Key users: Rush highlighted human spaceflight, commercial space companies, and national security customers as “the three pillars, in my view, of the second golden age of space.” 
  5. The future of spacecraft: It’s not built around “single-use satellites or the tallest hill upon which to do communications and remote sensing, but to leverage the environment to do manufacturing.”

ISAM, not OSAM

  • ISAM = in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing 
  • OSAM = on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing

It’s a small distinction, but Redwire is very intentional in its use of ISAM. “I think ISAM captures a lot more of the promise and potential of manufacturing in space,” Rush said. “We’re not only talking about the ability to do manufacturing on-orbit or in microgravity, but also on other moons and planets.” 

Looking forward: NASA awarded Redwire a ~$74M contract to develop OSAM-2 (or Archinaut One). This will be a key demonstration mission for Redwire’s Archinaut platform, which consists of robotic actuators, 3D printing technology, and other modular capabilities. The north star = creating spacecraft in space, rather than building them on Earth and then launching them. 


Old Allies, Back At It Again

An image showing the flags of all 20 nations that have signed the Artemis Accords
Image: NASA

France has signed the Artemis Accords, joining 19 other signatories in an agreement to maintain safe and cooperative operations in space.

About the accords: In 2020, NASA kickstarted an initiative to foster international cooperation and set some ground rules for spacefaring before humans returned to the moon. 

Nations who sign the Artemis Accords agree to a handful of common-sense measures to make human spaceflight missions safer, including:

  • Ensuring safe zones around future lunar bases
  • Providing emergency assistance to signatories in need, when possible
  • Registering space objects
  • Deconflicting space activities
  • Sharing scientific data with other countries

The accords are non-binding and not enforceable, but they are a prerequisite for countries angling to get in on NASA’s Artemis program missions.

So far, the signatories are Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Ukraine, the UAE, the UK, the US, and now, France.

Welcome, France: France has a busy space agency, CNES, as well as a pretty major presence in the current commercial space landscape. Its decision to join the Artemis signatories is a noteworthy endorsement of these best practices for safe, sustainable, and collaborative space exploration.


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In Other News

  • A Starlink IPO is unlikely until at least 2025, CNBC reports. 
  • Virgin Orbit ($VORB) is adding a joint UK-US defense research payload to the mission manifest for its launch out of Spaceport Cornwall later this year.  
  • Vega C will make its debut flight from French Guiana on July 7, ESA announced.

The Term Sheet

  • Maxar ($MAXR) announced the commencement of a private offering of $500M aggregate principal amount of its senior secured notes due 2027.
  • Salient Predictions, a provider of weather intelligence for the energy, agriculture and insurance industries, raised $5.3M in a seed funding round led by Wireframe Ventures.
  • Bellatrix Aerospace, an Indian smallsat company, secured an $8M Series A financing round to develop in-space propulsion systems.
  • iNRCORE, a magnetics producer, acquired Vanguard Electronics, which manufactures inductors and transformers for space applications.
  • EY Australia invested $3M in the Swinburne University of Technology Space Tech hub.

The View from JPL

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johns Hopkins APL/Ed Whitman

The main body of NASA’s Clipper spacecraft arrived at JPL, where it will spend two years undergoing more assembly and tests. The mission, expected to launch in 2024, will look for conditions suitable to life on the icy moon Europa.