Good morning. As of yesterday, astronauts have occupied the International Space Station (ISS) for 21 years straight. To put things in perspective: The week that the first long-term residents arrived at the ISS, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, and Creed were the top three artists on Billboard’s Hot 100.
More Redwire M&A
UN space resolution
Redwire Rolls Up Another One
Redwire has acquired Techshot, a space biotech company that got its start in 1988. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal, which was announced yesterday. The acquisition comes almost exactly two months after Redwire completed its SPAC merger. Techshot 101: The Indiana company develops space bioprinters and other biotech devices for microgravity. Techshot products, such as the “multi-use variable-gravity platform” or “bone densitometer,” sound like they were lifted straight from a sci-fi screenwriter’s manuscript.
But the products are real. Four of Techshot’s payloads are currently at the ISS. On the company’s roadmap are a 3D printer for electronic components and pharma manufacturing devices.
Redwire, itself the product of a private equity-driven merger, is building a space portfolio via M&A. The space conglomerate is an Orbital Reef partner and self-described commercial space platform.
- Here on Earth, a platform is sometimes defined as a technology or tool that generates more economic value than that of its creator. While that’s a tough sniff test for commercial space infrastructure today, more than one company believes it’s within reach.
Sensing a pattern? Redwire says it now owns 25+ off-world commercial facilities that “have flown, are in development, or currently operating” at the ISS.
Widening the aperture: Space companies have used SPACs to not only go public, but also acquire others. With more SPACs in the pipeline, expect more consolidation.
UN Inches Toward New Space Norms
The UN General Assembly’s First Committee, a security and disarmament panel, has voted to create a working group focused on space conduct.
- Resolution title: “Reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours”
- Tally: 163 nations voted Yes, eight voted No, and nine abstained.
- Notable nays: Russia opposed the measure, saying the resolution should focus on “preventing an arms race in outer space rather than dwell on space security in its broad interpretation.” China, another major space power, also voted against the measure.
- Procedure: The UK-drafted, US-supported resolution will need to be approved by the General Assembly at large in December, which seems like a safe bet.
The working group, if stood up, would recommend rules aimed at curbing “threatening” space behavior…and ostensibly be a precursor to a new space treaty.
An expert’s POV: “It is definitely more than symbolic,” Secure World Foundation Director of Program Planning Brian Weeden told Payload via email. The resolution is “a deliberate, focused effort over the next two years to hammer out an agreement dealing with threats in space.”
Examples: Asked about the most pressing gaps in existing space frameworks, Weeden highlighted anti-satellite weapons testing and lacking norms “on conducting close approaches of other countries’ satellites.” He believes reaching consensus on the latter is more likely.
Those solving the hardest challenges in space will define its future. At Lockheed Martin, we have a bold vision for what that future will be. From exploration to defense, Lockheed Martin helps our customers protect, connect and explore, with products like missile warning systems, GPS, weather satellites, and Mars rovers. Learn more.
In Other News
- Satellite imagery from Maxar and Planet suggests rapid construction of missile silo fields in China, the Federation of American Scientists determined.
- The FAA has punted once again on a final permit decision for Spaceport Camden, a proposed commercial launchpad on Georgia’s coast.
- Lockheed and Verizon are partnering on a 5G military service for the Pentagon.
- In Q3 earnings, which fell short of Wall Street expectations, BWX Technologies called out its investment in nuclear microreactors for space.
The Term Sheet
- Terran Orbital, a manufacturer of small satellites and operator of a SAR constellation, reached a definitive agreement to go public via acquisition by Tailwind Two Acquisition (NYSE: TWNT) in a SPAC transaction valuing the company at $1.58B.
- Techshot, as you just read above, was acquired by Redwire Corp (NYSE: RDW) for an undisclosed sum.
- Seven Solutions, a developer of synchronization hardware used for various industries including space, agreed to be acquired by Orolia for an undisclosed sum.
- Fund alert: Promus Ventures closed a $139M (€120M) space fund, Orbital Ventures. And yesterday, Forbes reported that 11.2 Capital raised a $101M deep tech fund earlier this year.