An artist's depiction of the Space Based Space Surveillance satellite tracking space debris. The 18th Space Control Squadron uses data collected from SBSS, and other sensors in the Space Surveillance Network, to track objects orbiting the earth, and provide Space Domain Awareness for space faring nations.
Rendering of the Space Based Space Surveillance satellite tracking space debris. Credit: U.S. Air Force

WASHINGTON — Geost, a company that supplies space surveillance sensors to the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, has been acquired by ATL Partners, a private equity firm.

The value of the acquisition, announced Aug. 19, was not disclosed. Josh Hartman, vice president and general manager of Geost, said the investment is significant and will allow the company to expand its manufacturing and engineering capacity. 

ATL’s portfolio includes companies in aerospace, transportation and logistics

Geost is based in Tucson, Arizona, and in the Washington, D.C., area. The company, founded in 2004, makes electro-optical and infrared sensors for satellites and ground-based surveillance systems. The company provides hardware for the Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) system used by the U.S. Space Force to track deep space objects.

“These markets are experiencing rapid growth as the United States increases its focus on new architectures to enhance the survivability and resiliency of its national security space assets,” said ATL partner Sanjay Arora.

Hartman said Geost plans to ramp up development and manufacturing of EO/IR payloads in anticipation of growing demand from DoD and the intelligence community. “There is a recognized need for protection of space assets and space domain awareness” which means more sensors, said Hartman. “There will be a need for affordable systems to protect the entire national security space architecture.”

The Space Development Agency, the Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Space Force, the National Reconnaissance Office and others are looking to deploy proliferated constellations in low Earth orbit, Hartman noted. Geost wants to position itself of be a payload provider for surveillance, missile warning and other military satellites. “So we’ll need to build out our production facilities and build our engineering base in order to accommodate the demand for proliferated LEO systems.”

“We’re going to invest in engineering capacity in Tucson and Washington, but we’re also looking at offices in other areas like the Colorado Springs or Huntsville [Alabama]. Maybe Albuquerque [New Mexico],” he said. “These are areas where our customers are and where there’s strong engineering talent that we can tap into.”

Hartman said ATL Partners intends to build up its national security space portfolio and make additional acquisitions in this sector.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...