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Spaceflight Industries Completes Sale of Rideshare Business

By Rachel Jewett | June 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. Photo: SpaceX

Spaceflight Industries, Inc. has finalized sale of its rideshare business, Spaceflight, Inc., to Mitsui & Co., in partnership with Yamasa Co., the company announced Friday. The sale, which was first announced in February, follows the completion of the review process by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The review was completed in April and the acquisition finalized on Friday.

Spaceflight Industries will now focus on geospatial intelligence provider BlackSky Global (BlackSky,) which remains part of Spaceflight Industries and operates as an independent company. The funds from the transaction will be reinvested in BlackSky.

[Spaceflight, BlackSky Separation Will Bring ‘Focus’ to Both Businesses, Execs Say]

“The completion of this deal is an exciting step for Spaceflight,” said Curt Blake, CEO and president of Spaceflight. “Joining the high-growth Mitsui & Co. portfolio positions Spaceflight to deliver and expand on the comprehensive launch services we offer. We’re exploring the development of new standardized deployment systems, new digital initiatives, and other programs that further help our customers reliably and affordably access space, in the most flexible way possible. Our biggest priority, as always, is ensuring all our customers are fully supported through this transition and we’re taking the necessary steps to establish infrastructure to meet their needs.”

Spaceflight headquarters will remain in Seattle with Blake continuing to serve as the CEO and president. Spaceflight was founded in 2013 and has since provided rideshare launch services for 271 satellites via 29 rocket launches. 

BlackSky is a customer of Spaceflight Inc., and plans to work with Spaceflight rideshare to manage the launch of new satellites as it builds out its constellation. Two BlackSky satellites will be launched later this month on a SpaceX Falcon 9 through a rideshare launch contract with Spaceflight. With the addition of these two satellites, BlackSky will have six satellites on orbit in its constellation. Past the upcoming launch, BlackSky plans to launch an additional six satellites in 2020. 

“It’s an exciting time for both Spaceflight and BlackSky as each company continues to focus on the execution of their specific missions and strategic goals, said Brian O’Toole, president of Spaceflight Industries and CEO of BlackSky.