SPACovirus Sweeps Space Sector

Richard Branson celebrates the first Virgin Galactic trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Credit Virgin Galactic)
Wall Street’s latest easy money craze has attracted a growing number of space companies. But, just because they can go public, should they?

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Seven space companies have gotten caught up in the SPACovirus sweeping through Wall Street. The impact on the space industry is going to be interesting to watch.

A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition company. It’s a publicly traded investment firm that, with outside investors, acquires or merges with another company, and then takes the acquisition public under its own name.

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Mitsui Completes Acquisition of Spaceflight

SEATTLE, June 12, 2020 (Spaceflight PR) – Today, satellite rideshare launch provider, Spaceflight Inc., announced its acquisition by Mitsui & Co., Ltd., in partnership with Yamasa Co., Ltd., is now complete with the final review of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

In February 2020, Spaceflight’s parent company, Spaceflight Industries, announced it had signed an agreement with the Japanese companies for the sale of the launch service provider, pending the CFIUS review. The review was complete in April and the acquisition finalized today, June 12, 2020. Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa will have 50/50 joint venture ownership in Spaceflight, but the launch service provider will continue to operate as a privately held, independent U.S.-based company.

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Raytheon Wins $378 Million Contract to Replace GPS Computer Hardware

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (SMC PR) — On March 26, the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s GPS Next Generation Operational Control System (OCX) program instructed Raytheon to replace the computer hardware in OCX prior to system delivery due to sale of IBM’s computer product line to a Chinese company.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved the IBM x86 product line sale to a foreign owned company, Lenovo on Aug. 2014. The agreement ensures IBM supported their hardware until August 2022. At the time of the sale, the Government identified this as a major impact to OCX by creating an unacceptable cyber risk. However, the Government waited on implementing a fix until Raytheon showed promising program performance in delivering OCX.

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