Deployable Space Systems produces Roll-Out Solar Arrays for the International Space Station and for the lunar Gateway Power and Propulsion Element. This image shows a 2017 test of a Roll Out Solar Array on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

SAN FRANCISCO – Redwire has acquired Deployable Space Systems (DSS) Inc., the rapidly growing Goleta, California, company that manufactures various structures and mechanisms including the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The DSS acquisition announced Feb. 23 was the seventh acquisition by Jacksonville, Florida-based Redwire, which private equity firm AE Industrial Partners established in 2020 to create a pure-play space company.

“With DSS, Redwire has now become the world’s leading independent supplier of solar array systems,” Peter Cannito, Redwire chairman and CEO, told SpaceNews. “We’re extremely excited about the capability that DSS brings to our portfolio around the ROSA technology but other capabilities as well.”

NASA announced plans in January to install DSS solar arrays on the International Space Station. Maxar Technologies awarded a contract to DSS in 2019 to manufacture solar arrays for the Power and Propulsion Element of the lunar Gateway.

With those major contracts underway, it’s a good time for DSS to join Redwire, said DSS co-founder Brian Spence.

“Redwire can come in and fulfill some [corporate] functions while we maintain our culture of being innovative and providing disruptive products for our customers,” Spence said. “We’re at this critical point in our business that requires a broader vision. That’s what Redwire provides for us.”

AE Industrial Partners formed Redwire in June 2020 after acquiring Deep Space Systems and Adcole Space. Since then, Redwire has purchased Made In SpaceRoccor, Loadpath, Oakman Aerospace and now DSS.

“Redwire and AEI have been focused on identifying innovative companies that are critical to enabling sustainable space infrastructure, and DSS’s dominance in innovative deployable solar arrays and structures is a valuable addition to Redwire’s technology portfolio,” Kirk Konert, Partner at AE Industrial Partners, said in a statement. “We are pleased to see Redwire’s strategic growth as the industry leader for space infrastructure.”

Redwire is focused on acquiring companies with innovative technologies and spaceflight heritage, Cannito said.

“A lot of times highly technical space visionaries start a company and over time as they start to scale, they get overwhelmed by all the corporate and business aspects of running a company,” Cannito said. “When they join Redwire, we consolidate those corporate functions that enables them to focus on what they were always passionate about.”

For example, Redwire helps with regulatory compliance and human resources management.

“It’s like we have parents now who are going to equip us with the things that we need from a resource standpoint and an opportunity standpoint to make our professional careers even greater,” Spence said.

Andrew Rush, Redwire president and chief operating officer, said Redwire leaders believe sound business practices will help propel the adoption of innovation in the space industry.

“The vision and philosophy that drives Redwire is bringing these pieces together to help enable the next generation of space infrastructure companies to be great mission partners,” Rush said. “We’re doing that by enabling folks like Brian [Spence] and his team to do more of what they do so well, while covering their right flank and their left flank with these business practices.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...