Biz Briefs – L3Harris Gets Big Contract, Maxar to Go Private, Orbit Fab & Ursa Major Raise Funds (Image Credit: Parabolic Arc)
In today’s biz briefs, L3Harris gets a big contract, Maxar shareholders vote to go private, Ursa Major and Orbit Fab raise fresh funds, Rocket Lab will re-fly an engine, and ESA wants your ideas for how to use lunar resources.
Contracts & Agreements
L3Harris Technologies has been awarded option year four of the Maintenance Of Space Situational Awareness Integrated Capabilities (MOSSAIC) program. The $145 million contract from the U.S. Space Force continues the modernization and sustainment of critical space infrastructure for space domain awareness (SDA). MOSSAIC detects, tracks and identifies deep space objects to provide timely and accurate space surveillance information for military, civil and commercial users.
Space & Technology Solutions, a.k.a., Space Networks Solutions, has won a cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to support work related to the Joint Polar Satellite System, NASA’s exploration and in-space services. Intuitive Machines leads the joint venture with KBR. The contract has a maximum value of $719 million.
Maxar Technologies announced an order from DISH for a geosynchronous direct broadcast satellite that will be designated ES-XXV. The satellite will be based on Maxar 1300TM series platform and equipped with a high-power, multi-spot beam payload.
SES Space & Defense will provide satellite communications capabilities in support of the U.S. Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WINT-T) training activities under a five-year contract worth $27.54 million.
Astra Space has received a $11.45 million contract from the U.S. Space Force to launch a payload aboard the company’s Rocket 4 booster.
Fleet Space Technologies has won an AUD $6.4 million (USD $4.2 million) from Australia’s Defence Space Command to use the company’s next-generation Centauri satellites for tactical communications and data transmission in areas where connectivity is limited. It is the first defense contract won by the commercial satellite manufacturer.
Ursa Major will provide Hadley engines for the upper stage of Astra Space‘s Rocket 4 launch vehicle. The vacuum Hadley engine will provide 6,500 pounds of thrust and will be capable of multiple starts.
Astrobotic Technology will fly its third mission to the Moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission will deliver instruments and cargo to the lunar south pole in 2026 in support of NASA’s Artemis program.
The Brook Park City Council has approved the sale of 13 acres (5.26 hectares) of land to Blue Abyss, a British company that is looking to build a civilian astronaut training center and research center. Brook Park is near NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
Rocket engine manufacturer Ursa Major has raised a $100 million Series D round that included BlackRock and Space Capital. The company has now raised about $234 million.
Chinese launch provider CAS Space has raised a Series C round worth 600 million yuan (USD $86.7 million) led by Guangzhou Industrial Investment and Capital Operation Holding Group. Existing shareholders CAS Investment and CAS Capital joined the round. The new funding will allow CAS Space to produce solid-fuel boosters and conduct research and development on liquid fuel rockets. The company has raised a total of 1.2 billion yuan (USD $173.4 million).
Solid-rocket motor manufacturer X-Bow Systems has received $60 million from the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Funding Increase program.
Orbit Fab closed a $28.5 million Series A round that will allow the company to advance its on-orbit refueling business. The round was led by 8090 Industries, with major investments by Stride Capital, Industrious Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Tribe Capital, Good Growth Capital, and Massive Capital Partners.
Orbit Fab also announced that it has secured $21 million in defense contracts along with tens of millions of dollars more in commercial programs. Contracts include a four-year agreement with the Defense Innovation Unit to refuel U.S. Space Force satellites with hydrazine. Orbit Fab will also replenish Astroscale’s Life Extension In-Orbit service vehicles.
Climate tech company Hydrosat has raised $20 million in new funding, including a $15 million Series A round and more than $5 million in non-dilutive funding to aid in the growth and development of its constellation of satellites and analytics to measure water stress and climate impact. Statkraft Ventures led the Series A round and included new investors Blue Bear Capital and Hartree Partners. The Series A round included participation from OTB Ventures, Freeflow Ventures, Cultivation Capital, Techstars, Santa Barbara Venture Partners, Expon Capital, and Hemisphere Ventures.
On-orbit servicing company Astroscale has received a JPY 3 billion (USD $22 million) loan from Mizuho Bank that will give the company additional funds to pursue current and future projects. The loan brings Astroscale’s accumulated debt to JPY 11 billion (~USD $83 million).
Mergers & Acquisitions
Satellite manufacturer Maxar Technologies stockholders have approved a $6.4 billion deal to be acquired by private equity firm Advent International. Shareholders will receive $53.00 per common share in the deal, which will take Maxar private. The companies expect the deal to close in late April or early May.
Rocket Lab will use a previously flown Rutherford engine on an upcoming Electron launch during the third quarter of this year. It will mark the first time the company is reusing an engine from a recovered first stage. The 3D printed engine flew on the “There and Back Again” in May 2022. The engine has undergone rigorous qualification and acceptance testing to certify it for re-flight.
Space Agency Initiatives
NASA has selected 16 proposals from 12 companies under the 2022 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO) to advance capabilities and technologies related to NASA’s Moon to Mars objectives. Industry-led teams will test a new lunar rover tire design, develop a robotically assembled power system, build an electrically actuated device to join in-space propellant transfer lines, and more.
Companies selected for the unfunded Space Act Agreements include Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Canopy Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, Psionic, Roccor, Sierra Space, Stratolaunch and Venturi Astrolab.
NASA has created a new consortium focused on in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM) capabilities. The Aerospace Corporation will manage the Consortium for Space Mobility and ISAM Capabilities (COSMIC), whose objective is to make ISAM a routine part of space architectures and mission lifecycles.
ESA has issued a call for European companies and research institutions to submit ideas on how to use lunar resources to support space exploration. The space agency is interested in ideas in the following areas: excavation, refining and transportation of regolith; storage of liquid oxygen; manufacturing of metal parts; surface construction; recycling and disposal of waste; and related activities.
ESA will work with winners on developing their technologies. Submit your idea here.