One of the new space companies that has done the most for popularizing the idea of in-space manufacturing, including use of additive technologies like 3D printing on the International Space Station, has been acquired by Redwire, a newly formed entity created by a private equity firm to roll up a number of space technology, supply and development companies.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the arrangement is said by Made In Space to be one that will free it from some of the financial constraints that come with being a small company operating on its own. Made In Space has some high-profile projects in flight, including playing a fundamental role in Archinaut One, a NASA mission that will demonstrate on-orbit assembly of solar arrays for a satellite already in space in order to provide it with more power generation capacity.
That project will continue under the acquisition, as will other efforts Made In Space was working on. This acquisition also includes Made In Space Europe, which is a separate legal entity based in Luxembourg but closely tied to the U.S. arm, and which focuses on developing space-based robotic systems.
Redwire was originally formed by the combination of equity firm AE Industrial Partners’ portfolio companies Adcole Space and Deep Space Systems, spacecraft suppliers and industry service providers the PE firm acquired earlier in 2020.
Made In Space is a company that is often cited as one of the early innovators in space-based manufacturing and 3D printing for use in in-space applications. This deal is definitely an interesting bellwether, and though terms haven’t been released, probably does reflect some of the changed market dynamics of the space industry given current economic conditions — especially for companies like Made In Space working with long time horizons for significant revenue returns as they establish, develop and deploy novel technology.