On Tuesday, space transportation firm Redwire, the private equity-backed space startup that has quickly ascended as a leader in developing mission-critical solutions for the “next generation space economy,” announced that it has acquired spacecraft and satellite developer Oakman Aerospace, Inc. (OAI).

Price and other deal terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2012 and based in Littleton, Colorado, OAI is a privately held, woman/veteran-owned global provider of spacecraft and satellite solutions. Its technology focus areas include modular open system architecture, rapid spacecraft design and development, as well as custom missions, payloads, and applications.

“Oakman Aerospace adds a critical capability in digital engineering that will significantly enhance our space infrastructure solutions,” said Peter Cannito, Chairman and CEO of Redwire. “Their modular open systems architecture design and development approach and proprietary commercial off-the-shelf software suite is transforming the way future space capabilities are designed, developed, deployed and operated.”

“Joining Redwire advances our strategic ambition to achieve the next level of growth and expand our technological innovation,” said Maureen O’Brien, Co-Founder and CEO of OAI. “We look forward to leveraging these additional resources to enhance our capabilities and offer new products and services to our customers.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to join an experienced team that is developing state-of-the-art space systems and hardware solutions that, combined with our leading digital engineering proficiencies, will expand our ability to provide world-class solutions to our customers for many years to come,” said Stanley Kennedy, Jr., Co-Founder, President and Chief Systems Engineer of OAI. “We are eager to join Redwire and accelerate our competitive position as a provider of disruptive space-based technologies.”

Acquisition #6

OAI marks the sixth acquisition in the past year for Redwire, a firm founded by AE Industrial Partners, a niche private equity firm specializing in defense and specialty industrial markets. Redwire was established as part of a tripartite acquisition that also included Deep Space Systems and Adcole Space.

In December, Redwire announced the acquisition of New Mexico’s LoadPath, which develops payload adapters, deployable structures and thermal products for the space industry. The company has developed more than 200 flight articles, and supported more than 20 spaceflight missions with government customers including NASA, the Department of Defense, and various commercial customers.

Other acquisitions in 2020 include Roccor, Made in Space, and Deep Space Systems.

Last week, in-space infrastructure services firm Momentus announced that it has award Redwire a multi-phase contract to develop robotics systems for its next-generation Vigor ideas in-spire transportation vehicle. Momentus itself counts venture capital investors Y Combinator and Mountain Nazca among its investors.

“Redwire has quickly positioned itself as a leader in space infrastructure solutions with an impressive portfolio of innovative capabilities and we are pleased to see this strong growth,” said Kirk Konert, Partner at AE Industrial Partners. “OAI provides deep digital engineering expertise and a unique set of capabilities that will augment Redwire’s technology portfolio and enable the organization to support a broader range of customer missions.”

AE’s mission

As a private equity investor, AE Industrial Partners targets controlling position in middle-market firms, with annual revenues of up to $1 billion, in aerospace, defense and government services, power generation, and specialty industrial markets. The company has made over 95 such acquisitions to date.

AE has more than $3 billion in equity capital, and is currently investing out of its AE Industrial Partners Fund II, with $1.36 billion in equity commitments.

Portfolio companies include the public private partnership company Pangiam, which develops emerging technologies for operations and security managements at airports, seaports and land border crossings; American Pacific Corporation, a specialty chemicals manufacturer in operation since 1955 as a maker of materials used in missile defense, space launch and pharmaceuticals; and Gryphon, which makes ships and aircraft for the U.S. Department of Defense.

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