- Parabolic Arc
- May 26, 2023
Private Equity Firm Purchased Stratolaunch
Alan Boyle at Geek Wire reports that a private equity firm owned by a billionaire Donald Trump supporter that specializes n distressed companies is the new owners of Sttratolaunch.
Sounds about right. Stratolaunch has always been the indulgence of a billionaire. And it was certainly distressed.
Stephen Feinberg’s Cerberus Capital Management purchased the company from the estate of the late Paul Allen, who had bankrolled the development of the company’s giant, twin fuselage aircraft that is designed to air launch satellites. The airplane was built by Scaled Composites.
That was the original goal, anyway. Jody Allen, the executor of her brother Paul’s estate, reportedly had no interest in launching satellites. The company canceled its rocket development program last January and laid off more than 50 employees.
The Stratolaunch aircraft made its maiden flight on April 13 from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Reports then circulated that the operation was for sale.
“Our near-term launch vehicle development strategy focuses on providing customizable, reusable, and affordable rocket-powered testbed vehicles and associated flight services,” Stratolaunch said in announcing its sale to an unidentified owner in October.
Stratolaunch President and CEO Jean Floyd tweeted on Tuesday that the company has since gone on a hiring spree.
Feinberg is the co-founder, executive chairman, and co-CEO of Cerberus. He donated $1 million to the Donald Trump’s presidential campaign five days before the 2016 election. Trump subsequently named the billionaire to chair the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.
Cerberus has invested in a broad range of companies in different industries, including weapons and defense. It controls DynCorp, which is one of America’s largest private military contractors. The company trains Afghanistan’s police force and assists in their narcotics-trafficking activities.
There seems to be a good overlap between Feinberg’s and Cerberus’ military and intelligence ties and Stratolaunch’s business strategy. “Affordable rocket-powered testbed vehicles” and “high-speed flight test services” sounds like services the Pentagon could use.
Boyle included a link to a New York Times feature about how Feinberg’s company drove gun maker Remington Arms into bankruptcy after buying it, extracting hundreds of millions of dollars up front, and loading the 203-year old company with $950 million in debt. The company also obtained million is subsidies from the city of Huntsville and the state of Alabama.
You can read the story here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/remington-guns-jobs-huntsville.html
13 responses to “Private Equity Firm Purchased Stratolaunch”
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I could understand noting the ties that Cerberus has to the defense industry as it provides a justification for the purchase, but how is Stephen Feinberg’s donation to President Trump’s campaign relevant? Boeing after all donated to President’s Trump’s Inauguration. It SOP for defense firms to donate to both sides in elections…
Or does that now mean that Straolauncher serves the “dark side of the force?” 🙂
Why do you think he ended up heading the intelligence advisory board? He is described as a Trump ally.
So? It’s how Washington works. Nothing odd about it.
If I had the time to waste I am sure I could find a list of Obama donors who became Ambassadors, advisors, etc and than match it with a list of Bush donors. But it than I am sure I could also put together a list of what days it rained at Mojave as well. It would be just as natural.
If it’s the way Washington works, then why are you freaking out that it’s mentioned the story?
The question is why you are mentioning it when it’s not relevant to the story. Do you mention it on a post every time it rains in Mojave?
It shows how close the guy is to the president. $1 million in the closing days the campaign to help put Trump over the top. That and the fract he controls one of the country’s largest private military contractors and heads up a key intel board are pretty important.
This whole deal has military written all over it. Hypersonic test bed. I doubt he would have bought the company without some guarantees the military will use it. And he certainly has the access to ensure that given his closeness to the president.
I think all of that is relevant. You don’t. Let’s leave it at that.
I was thinking the same, but as he mentioned, the guy is part of the intelligence advisory board (Whatever that is). Mentioning that he is a donor by itself would be no big deal. However, donor 5 days before election, combined with the board, would hint that he is part of the swamp.
So, where will he go with this?
It oversees federal policy on spies and counterspies. Nothing to do with space or rockets. Most likely his information on the USAF needs came from congressional staffers or the Pentagon via his lobbying network. It’s unlikely President Trump knows or even cares that Stratolauncher exists.
Yeah…I had the same thought. I guess that now we’re supposed to picket his house and threaten his pets. I hope his pets are cows…I’ll threaten them with a bar-b-que.
Sheesh! Not what the story says at all. Where does it even hint at that? And pets? What did they ever do to you?
…Impeachment witness Turley says wife, dog threatened: ‘Who would shoot a Goldendoodle?’…
The Hill 12-9-19
90 degree flaps. I have never seen that done. I have seen spoilers on the top at 90. I guess just for drag. I will have to think why that was done.
My guess, After the Stratolaunch drops the bird it’s been carrying and the rocket is ignited, you want to slow up as quickly as possible and get out of the possible path of the ascending stage.