Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

Biz Briefs: Intuitive Machines Sending AstroForge Spacecraft to Asteroid, Reaction Engines Raises $47.7 Million, HawkEye 360 Wins Contract and More

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
January 27, 2023
Biz Briefs: Intuitive Machines Sending AstroForge Spacecraft to Asteroid, Reaction Engines Raises $47.7 Million, HawkEye 360 Wins Contract and More
Deployment of AstroForge’s asteroid mission. (Credit: Intuitive Machines)

Contracts & Deals

Intuitive Machines Announces Agreement to Deliver AstroForge’s Asteroid Mining Payload

Houston-based Intuitive Machines, LLC has signed an agreement to deliver AstroForge’s Brokkr-2 spacecraft to deep space to observe an asteroid the California company is targeting for mining operations. Brokkr-2 is expected to launch during Intuitive Machines’ second lunar mission in the second half of 2023.

Intuitive Machines intends to deploy Brokkr-2 using the Company’s excess launch capacity on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter after the launch vehicle separates from the lunar lander.

“AstroForge’s pursuit of mining asteroids to preserve Earth’s resources is a pursuit humanity can undertake with hope,” said Peter McGrath, Vice President of Business Development of Intuitive Machines. “Ambitious missions like AstroForge’s will require a responsive and reliable path millions of miles beyond the Moon on the way to asteroids. Intuitive Machines is honored to provide a solution to transport Brokkr-2 into deep space to observe one of AstroForge’s target asteroids in advance of missions that could benefit us all as well as future generations.”

Slingshot Awards Contract to HawkEye 360 to Support U.S. Space Systems Command

Slingshot Aerospace has awarded HawkEye 360 a contract to provide data for Slingshot’s space-based monitoring and detection of RF threats and to support Slingshot’s proliferated Low Earth Orbit (pLEO) Data Exploitation and Enhanced Processing (DEEP) program for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC).

“GPS is heavily integrated in the day-to-day operations of our global landscape, but one signal interference by an adversary can disrupt many functions of an economy and military,” said Alex Fox, HawkEye 360 chief growth officer. “Through this partnership with Slingshot Aerospace, and the cooperative support of the Space Systems Command, HawkEye 360 is thankful for the opportunity to add an extra dimension to GPS interference discovery and incorporate our unique capabilities into the U.S. Space Force architecture to prevent and combat electronic warfare.”

Anuvu Signs Starlink Reseller Agreement

Anuvu has signed a deal to resell the fastest antenna for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service for $2,500. Anuvu has been supporting customers’ Starlink installations in the cruise, energy, and yacht verticals since Starlink expanded its offerings to the maritime industry in July 2022.

“Before entering the Starlink resale business, we wanted to guarantee the most seamless, affordable, obligation-free experience for maritime customers and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” said Erik Carlsen, SVP, Maritime, Energy & Government at Anuvu. “Customers who buy Starlink from Anuvu get our expertise and customer support without any strings attached. For maritime operators adopting a LEO solution, there’s no simpler path than ours to acquire Starlink.”

AAC Clyde Space Wins $254,274 Follow-On Order With Space Forge

AAC Clyde Space, a leading New Space company, has received a 234,000 (US $254,274) order from UK-based Space Forge to provide space products for a demonstration spacecraft designed to leverage the space environment for production and experiments, capable of performing multiple trips to space.

The order follows orders in December 2020, and January 2022 to the same project. The reusable spacecraft is intended to deorbit in a controlled manoeuvre to deliver its products and results back to Earth after six months in-orbit, thereby enabling efficient production and revolutionary experiments by leveraging the micro gravity in-orbit. The spacecraft is designed for re-entry into the atmosphere and landing on Earth. Back on Earth the satellites will be recovered, refurbished, and eventually re-launched.


Reaction Engines Raises $47.7 Million

Reaction Engines has raised an additional £40 million (US $47.7 million) in a round led by Strategic Development Fund (SDF), the investment arm of UAE’s Tawazun Council. A number of Reaction Engines’ existing investors also participated in the round, which is the Company’s largest equity funding to date.

The funding round includes new investment from the strategic development fund as well as further investments from existing industry and financial investors. The round brings the total equity funds raised by Reaction Engines to over £150 million ($185.9 million).

The new capital will be used to accelerate the development and commercialization of Reaction Engines’ pioneering thermal management technologies which have multiple uses across a range of applications including advanced propulsion systems and sustainable technology solutions.

Business Updates

Mynaric Reports on Key Performance Indicators for 2022

Laser communications equipment provider Mynaric reported on key performance indicators for the year ending December 31, 2022. The optical communications terminal backlog and cash-in from customer contracts is as follows:

  • Optical communications terminal backlog: 256 units (FY22 guidance as of October 25, 2022: >250 units)
  • Cash-in from customer contracts: EUR 18.3 million (FY22 guidance as of October 25, 2022: EUR >20 million) with an additional approximately EUR 11 million invoiced in December 2022 of which EUR 1.1 million was received in early January and the remaining to be received by month end

Not included in the reported backlog and cash-in from customer contracts is the $24 million contract win announced on January 9, 2023.

Government/Industry Collaboration

European Space Agency Expands 5G/6G Hub

ESA is expanding its 5G/6G Hub’s satellite-enabled communications technologies and pursuing new collaborations with industry.

ESA has selected information technology firm CGI to lead the expansion project, backed by the UK Space Agency. The project consortium includes satellite operators Eutelsat and OneWeb as well as mobile network operator Vodafone.

The hub is located at ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) on the Harwell campus in the UK.


Orbital Assembly Names Ascent Solar CEO Jeffrey Max to its Board of Directors

Orbital Assembly (OA), developer of automated and habitable space platforms today announced that Jeffrey Max, serial tech entrepreneur, investor, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ascent Solar Technologies (NASDAQ: ASTI) has joined its board of directors.

Over a 30-year career, Max has founded, built, incubated, and driven successful global companies with multiple exits in financial services, payments, mobile commerce, AdTech, and aerospace. As CEO of Ascent Solar, he is driving the company’s global positioning as a leader in flexible, thin-film solar technologies. In addition to several other board positions, Max advises and mentors a select group of portfolio companies and founding executives in aerospace, BioMed, and AdTech.