Made In Space is building the Archinaut One spacecraft to additively manufacture and robotically integrate a pair of ten-meter solar arrays to expand the small satellite's ability to generate power. Credit: Made In Space

WASHINGTON — Made In Space, a pioneer of in-space manufacturing and assembly technologies, is being acquired by Redwire, a new venture that is rolling up a number of smaller space companies.

The companies announced the deal June 23, terms of which they did not disclose. Made In Space, founded in 2010 and based in Jacksonville, Florida, has developed 3-D printers flown on the International Space Station and has a NASA contract for a mission called Archinaut One to demonstrate the in-space assembly of solar arrays.

AE Industrial Partners, a private equity firm, formally established Redwire at the beginning of June by combining two companies it had acquired, Adcole Space and Deep Space Systems (DSS). Both companies are best known as suppliers of spacecraft components and engineering services, although DSS has also developed a robotic lunar lander and is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

“What we wanted to do with Redwire is take some of the traditional space heritage from the small, agile and innovative companies out there like Adcole and DSS and combine them with a true innovator,” said Peter Cannito, chief executive of Redwire, in an interview.

Made In Space, he argued, is that innovator. “The things that they’re doing are things that have never been done and really have the potential to change the economics of space,” he said. “That filled a key gap in our strategy.”

For Made In Space, the acquisition gives it resources to expand its capabilities. “We were really looking at what would take us to the next level,” said Andrew Rush, president and chief executive of Made In Space, in an interview. In discussions with Redwire, he said, “we found a common language and a common ground around creating an organization that had both great flight heritage and experience and an innovative approach.”

“There have been constraints by being that small, independent company,” he said. “Now, by joining forces with Redwire and having the resources and reach that they bring to the table, it’s really going to unshackle us and let us deliver faster on the possibilities.”

Rush said the Redwire acquisition made more sense than alternative approaches to growing the company, such as raising venture capital. “The conversations and the commonality of vision, that Pete and I have and the broader Made In Space and Redwire teams have, is what really brought us together,” he said.

Made In Space will continue its existing projects, like Archinaut, while looking to leverage the capabilities of the other Redwire companies. “In the coming months, we’re going to start to work together and bring new offerings to the market for our customers that are integrated solutions,” Rush said.

For now Made In Space and the other Redwire companies will operate separately, but Cannito said that over time they will combine under the Redwire name. “We’re going to let it evolve naturally,” he said. “Many of the brands that are involved in Redwire have a lot of history and meaning to their current customer set, so we want to respect that legacy.”

He also opened the door to other acquisitions. “We’re really trying to build that premier agile middle-market player in space,” he said, looking for companies “that recognize that they have something really innovative but, by joining Redwire, can accelerate their timelines significantly.”

As a part of the acquisition, Rush will become the chief operating officer of Redwire, while Mike Snyder, chief engineer at Made In Space, will become chief technology officer at Redwire.

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...