Amergint Technology said its acquisition of Tethers Unlimited, completed May 6, will enable the company to offer end-to-end space solutions. Credit: Tethers Unlimited

WASHINGTON — Spacecraft technology company Tethers Unlimited on May 6 announced its acquisition by Amergint Technology Holdings, a Colorado company specialized in satellite ground systems. 

Amergint Technology said it is acquiring Tethers Unlimited for an undisclosed sum. Based in Bothell, Washington, Tethers Unlimited was founded in 1994 by Robert Hoyt, its chief executive, and the late science fiction writer Robert Forward. Tethers Unlimited has developed a variety of technologies, including water-powered propulsion systems, reprogrammable smallsat radios and robotic spacecraft arms. 

Amergint Technology said that it will combine its expertise in ground systems with Tethers Unlimited’s spacecraft expertise to create end-to-end solutions for the satellite communications and in-space services markets. 

“Joining forces with AMERGINT makes tremendous sense for Tethers Unlimited,” Hoyt said in a May 6 news release. “Combining AMERGINT’s ground-based processors and modems with TUI’s software-defined satellite radios and mesh network solution enables us to provide flexible, affordable, secure and resilient end-to-end communications services.”

Amergint Technology said the combined company will serve commercial and government customers. Hoyt, though, emphasized the combined company’s ability to serve the U.S. Space Force, the Space Development Agency, DARPA and other government agencies. 

“At a time when our customers are increasingly focused on integrated communications and data networks, we are excited to close the link between software-defined solutions from the ground architecture to the spacecraft,” Larry Hill, chief executive of Amergint Technology, said in the same news release. 

The acquisition is Amergint Technology’s second of the year, following its April purchase of Raytheon Technologies’ space-based precision optics business. The U.S. Department of Justice required Raytheon to divest the business unit before it could combine with United Technologies Corporation in a “merger of equals” that closed April 3. 

Tethers Unlimited is developing a number of new technologies, including a satellite servicer called LEO Knight, a passive deorbit system called Terminator Tape, and HyperBus, an in-space manufacturing platform. On May 5, NASA announced the company received two Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research awards worth up to $750,000, one to further develop Hyperbus, and a second to continue with ARTIE, a robotic power and grapple interface that could be used on the agency’s lunar Gateway.

Caleb Henry is a former SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from...