Space Micro Acquires Comtech AeroAstro Assets

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WASHINGTON – Satellite electronics maker Space Micro will take ownership of some of the assets of Comtech AeroAstro, the small satellite and satellite-component manufacturer that fell on hard times and was shut down this summer by its corporate parent, San Diego-based Comtech Telecommunications Corp.

In a Sept. 28 press release, Space Micro, also of San Diego, said the assets to be transferred include S- and X-band communications devices, sun sensors, star trackers and imaging cameras.

“This transaction is highly complementary to our existing product lines,” Space Micro Chief Executive David J. Strobel said in a prepared statement. “We believe the combination of our affordable high performance radiation hardened space electronics and our existing distribution channels combined with the [Comtech AeroAstro] heritage products make for a natural fit.”

In a written response to Space News questions, Strobel said the deal, financial terms of which he declined to disclose, includes Comtech AeroAstro’s inventory, documentation, proposal backlog, marketing lists and capital equipment. “Our San Diego facility is sufficient for incorporation of these assets,” he said.

Strobel said the deal does not include any facilities — Comtech AeroAstro’s main facility was in Ashburn, Va. — or satellite designs, meaning Space Micro is not acquiring a satellite manufacturing capability. Space Micro will not take on any Comtech AeroAstro employees, although some will provide consulting services during the transition.

AeroAstro, a small company founded in 1988 that made a name for itself as a builder of small research satellites for U.S. government customers, was acquired by satellite-equipment maker Radyne in 2007, which in turn was bought by Comtech in 2008. But the cancellation of a satellite contract with the U.S. Navy, coupled with an overall slowdown in U.S. government spending, prompted Comtech to close the operation in July.

Space Micro is an employee-owned company that recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It specializes in affordable, high-performance satellite electronics including transmitters and electronics.

Strobel said Space Micro has 45 employees and annual sales of $9 million, before the transaction. He said the company is expecting substantial growth in 2013.