WASHINGTON — Ingersoll Rand announced a deal March 25 to acquire ILC Dover, a company best known in the space industry for its work on spacesuits and inflatable modules.

Ingersoll Rand said it would purchase ILC Dover from private equity firm New Mountain Capital for $2.325 billion in cash. That purchase price could increase by $75 million based on the company’s 2024 results. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

ILC Dover’s business is primarily in providing products in pharmaceutical and life sciences businesses. However, the company has an aerospace business segment primarily associated with the development of spacesuits going back to the Apollo program.

That aerospace business was mentioned only in passing during a nearly hour-long conference call about the deal. “ILC Dover is giving us the optionality to access the fast-growing market in aerospace,” said Vicente Reynal, chief executive and chairman of Ingersoll Rand. “ILC Dover is the only company that has built a spacesuit that has put a man on the moon safely.”

He noted that ILC Dover has a “deep relationship” with NASA and space companies. “We believe that the space and aerospace market, whether commercial or government-sponsored, will grow at the high single digits over the next decade.” He added that the deal would give Ingersoll Rand an opportunity to access new customers for other products it produces, like pumps.

Executives with the two companies offered few other details about the aerospace business in the call, and did not discuss what effect, if any, the deal would have on ILC Dover’s existing work.

ILC Dover is part of a team led by Collins Aerospace selected by NASA in June 2022, along with Axiom Space, to develop spacesuits through the Exploration Extravehicular Activity Services program. That team is currently working on a suit intended to replace the aging Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuits used for spacewalks outside the International Space Station.

ILC Dover is also working with Sierra Space on that company’s Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) modules, inflatable habitats intended for use on future commercial space stations. Sierra Space has been testing versions of LIFE, including a burst test of a full-sized version of the module announced in January, to confirm the performance of a restraint layer developed in partnership with ILC Dover. At the time the companies announced their partnership last year, they said they would also collaborate on future spacesuit designs.

In addition to its spacesuit and module work, the company has developed airbags for use in spacecraft landings. Versions of those airbags were used on the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover landings and are incorporated into the landing system for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...