Altius Bulldog
Altius Space Machines has been working on a satellite servicing concept called Bulldog. Credit: Altius Space Machines

WASHINGTON — Voyager Space Holdings, a company recently established to serve as a holding company and long-term funding source for space startups, has acquired its first company, space technology firm Altius Space Machines.

Voyager announced Oct. 23 its intent to acquire Altius, a deal that it said is subject to “customary closing conditions.” Terms of the deal between the two Colorado-based companies were not disclosed.

Engineer and space entrepreneur Jon Goff founded Altius in 2010 after serving as lead propulsion engineer for Masten Space Systems when it won the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program, in 2009. Altius has worked on a variety of spacecraft technologies since its founding.

In recent years, Altius focused on satellite servicing systems, including technologies for grappling spacecraft and propellant transfer. The company has proposed its own satellite servicing system, called Bulldog, a project that would require Altius to raise significant additional funding.

“As an entrepreneur in a leading-edge portion of the space market, it’s been challenging to secure the financial resources we’ve needed to deliver on our vision,” Goff, chief executive of Altius, said in a statement. “When the Voyager team explained their vision, I knew it was an amazing opportunity to not only accelerate bringing our Bulldog servicing vehicle to market, but also to make a bigger difference in the entrepreneurial space industry.”

That work in satellite servicing technology drew Voyager’s interest. “Altius is a market leader, blazing the trail for on-orbit servicing technology in our industry,” Matthew Kuta, president and chief operating officer of Voyager, said in the statement.

Space industry investor Dylan Taylor founded Voyager to serve as a holding company for a variety of emerging space companies, willing to support companies over time horizons longer than traditional venture capitalists. Voyager announced its plans in early October, including a board that features retired Air Force Gen. William Shelton and former NASA associate administrator for science Alan Stern.

In addition to capital, Voyager will also provide shared services, such as human resources, to its portfolio of companies. “It will really free up the engineers to do what their passion and expertise is,” Kuta said in an Oct. 3 interview about the firm’s establishment.

Kuta said in that earlier interview that Voyager is looking for companies that are beyond the seed stage and are producing revenue in the range of a few million to a few tens of millions of dollars. One of the areas of interest he said then was on-orbit servicing, along with analytics.

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...