Bishop at ISS
Voyager Space Holdings announced Dec. 23 it is buying a majority stake in Nanoracks, days after its Bishop airlock (above) was installed on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

TAMPA, Fla. — Denver-based Voyager Space Holdings, which has been buying businesses to build a vertically integrated space exploration company, has appointed former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine to chair its advisory board.

It is the second corporate announcement in a week for Bridenstine, who joined satellite operator Viasat’s board of directors April 1.

Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager, said his expertise will help guide its “aggressive and ambitious growth plan.”

Voyager has acquired four companies since it started in October 2019.

Its latest deal came in December 2020 when the company bought a majority stake in Nanoracks, which facilitates commercial satellite deployments from the International Space Station.

The other acquisitions comprise on-orbit satellite servicer Altius Space Machines, space research firm Pioneer Astronautics and component provider The Launch Company.

Matthew Kuta, president and COO of Voyager, told SpaceNews in a March 3 interview that it was actively looking at more than a dozen potential acquisition targets.

The company aims to harness the innovation of multiple space startups, which have proliferated in recent years through venture capital investments, to become a prime contractor for space exploration missions.

Bridenstine led NASA space exploration objectives that include the introduction of its human lunar exploration mission Artemis. He is also a senior adviser for private equity firm Acorn Growth Companies, which he joined soon after resigning from NASA Jan. 20 at the end of the Trump administration.

“The commercial space sector is a critical component to the United States’ success as a global leader and plays a fundamental role in securing the safety of our nation,” Bridenstine said in a prepared statement.

“Voyager’s role in identifying and supporting the innovative work these commercial space companies are doing is both unique and incredibly valuable.”

Kuta said March 3 the company plans to list on the public markets in the next 12 months or so, depending on market conditions.

He said the company had not decided whether to pursue a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), an increasingly popular financial vehicle in the space industry that fast-tracks the route to public markets. A traditional initial public offering of stock, or IPO, is a lengthier process but can result in a larger share of proceeds going to the company itself.

Redwire, which has also bought several space technology companies in the last year, unveiled plans March 25 to go public through a SPAC merger.


Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...