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Spaceflight Industries to Sell Rideshare Launch Business to Japanese Companies

By | February 12, 2020
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching 64 payloads to orbit for the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission. Photo: SpaceX

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching 64 payloads to orbit for the Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission, brokered by Spaceflight in Photo: SpaceX

Spaceflight Industries is selling its satellite rideshare launch business Spaceflight to Mitsui & Co., in partnership with Yamasa Co. Spaceflight Industries plans to leverage the capital from this agreement to focus on BlackSky, its geospatial intelligence business. Mitsui & Co general manager of manager of aerospace systems & rail leasing division called the acquisition is “an optimal way for Mitsui & Co. to enter the space industry.” 

Upon regulatory approval, Spaceflight will continue to operate as an independent U.S.-based company, with a 50/50 joint venture ownership stake by Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa. Its headquarters will remain in Seattle with Curt Blake remaining the CEO and president, reporting to a primarily U.S.-based new board of directors. The companies did not disclose financial details of this deal. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) will review the acquisition in terms of national security and foreign direct investment in the U.S. economy. The review process takes several months, and the companies anticipate the deal to be approved in the second quarter of 2020.

Blake said in a blog post that the key benefit for Spaceflight is growth. “The commercial space industry is evolving rapidly, and we are 100 percent committed to providing the most innovative and cost-effective launch options for our customers. Now we’re able to reinvest directly in our core launch business and have the financial and operational support from a large corporation to further expand our services, our technology capabilities, and the partnerships we bring to market,” Blake said.