Rendering of a OneWeb broadband satellite. Credit: OneWeb

PARIS — Rocket Lab announced Dec. 13 that it is acquiring solar power system manufacturer SolAero Holdings, the latest in a series of acquisitions by Rocket Lab of component developers.

Rocket Lab announced it would pay $80 million in cash for Albuquerque, New Mexico-based SolAero. The deal is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2022.

SolAero produces solar cells, solar panels and other aerospace structures for a variety of space missions. The company has produced solar arrays for missions as varied as the Ingenuity Mars helicopter and the Parker Solar Probe mission for NASA, as well as solar cells for the OneWeb satellite constellation.

The SolAero is the latest in a series of acquisitions by Rocket Lab in recent months after it completed its SPAC merger ands became a public company Rocket Lab announced Nov. 15 it is buying Planetary Systems Corporation, which makes satellites systems. That deal closed Dec. 1. It purchased Advanced Solutions, Inc., a flight software, software and guidance systems company, in October. Rocket Lab acquired another satellite component manufacturer, Sinclair Interplanetary, in early 2020.

“SolAero is a highly complementary addition to Rocket Lab’s vertically integrated business model and strengthens our ability to streamline space for our customers by delivering complete space mission solutions,” Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s chief executive, said in a statement. “By combining our innovative teams, industry-leading technologies, and strong resources, we can advance space exploration and enable our customers to push the boundaries of what’s possible in orbit.”

Brad Clevenger, president and chief executive of SolAero, will continue to lead that business after the acquisition, supporting Rocket Lab and other customers. The 425 employees of SolAero bring Rocket Lab’s head count to more than 1,100 in the United States, Canada and New Zealand.

“As Rocket Lab builds on its capability to provide complete mission solutions, SolAero is a natural fit for Rocket Lab,” Cleveneger said in the statement. “We look forward to becoming an integral part of Rocket Lab’s Space Systems business while continuing to offer all of our customers premier capability and value.”

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...