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Biz Briefs – SAIC, QinetiQ Win Big Defense Contracts

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 31, 2023
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Biz Briefs – SAIC, QinetiQ Win Big Defense Contracts
T1TRK will detect, identify and track hypersonic weapons and other advanced missiles from their earliest stages of launch through interception.
Image credit: Northrop Grumman.

Welcome to Biz Briefs! In this edition, SAIC and Qinetiq won a big defense contract, MDA acquired SatixFy’s digital payload division, Japanese space robotics company GITAI raised $15 million, and much more.

Contracts & Agreements

SAIC wins $574 million radar maintenance contract

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) of Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $574,527,416 cost-plus-incentive-fee by the US Air Force to maintain and sustain ground-based radar sites for the US Space Force. Four proposals were received.

QinetiQ US wins $224 million contract

QinetiQ’s US subsidiary, Avantus Federal, has won a five-year, $224 million contract to engineer systems and provide support services for the Space Development Agency’s network of missile-tracking satellites.

Benchmark wins second AFRL contract

Benchmark Space Systems won a two-year, $2.81 million contract from the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to further develop and test flight-optimized thrusters running on Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-Toxic (ASCENT) fuel. Benchmark demonstrated a prototype that burned the AFRL-development ASCENT fuel without a catalyst bed under a previous contract.

Starlink & KDDI to provide satellite-to-cellular service in Japan

KDDI and SpaceX announced an agreement to provide satellite-to-cellular service in Japan by leveraging SpaceX’s Starlink low earth orbit satellites and KDDI national wireless spectrum nationwide. The deal will expand KDDI’s cellular connectivity to areas beyond the limits of existing 4G and 5G networks.

Mergers & Acquisitions

MDA has signed an agreement to acquire digital payload division of SatixFy Communications (NYSE AMERICAN: SATX) in a transaction worth $60 million. The Israeli company will be integrated into the MDA UK subsidiary after the deal closes. SatixFy’s stock rose 36.2 percent on Thursday (August 31) to close at $0.65.

“The acquisition of SatixFy’s digital payload division advances MDA’s satellite systems strategy as we continue to invest and expand in next generation satellite technology and talent to meet growing customer demand,” said Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA. “MDA and SatixFy have worked together to advance our digital satellite technology solutions and our teams are well acquainted, highly complementary and collaborative. This acquisition is a natural next step in solidifying and strengthening our market position and addressing customer demand as we continue to capitalize on the growth in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication market.”


GITAI raises $15 million

GITAI USA and GITAI Japan raised an additional $15 million in a Series B extension round. The company raised $30 million in May. The space robotics company will use the funds to expand its business in the United States and for a lunar surface demonstration of its technology. Green Co-Invest Investment Limited Partnership, Pacific Bays Fund 1 & 1A Investment Limited Partnerships (Pacific Bays Capital), and MSIVC 2021V Venture Capital Investment Limited Partnership participated in the round. GITAI also received a loan from MUFG Bank.

HEO raises Series A round

Australian startup HEO raised AUD $12 million (USD $7.8 million) in a Series A round. The company places cameras on satellites that are pointed at other satellites and space objects to minimize the possibility of collisions. The round was led by AirTree Ventures and backed by Salus Ventures.

ReOrbit completes oversubscribed seed round

ReOrbit, a Helsinki-based provider of software-enabled satellites, completed an oversubscribed Seed funding round for USD $7.4 million. The round was led by Inventure VC with participation from 10xFounders and existing investors, Expansion, and YesVC.

Integrate Space raises $3.4 million, wins USSF contract

Seattle-based Integrate Space raised $3.4 million for the company’s program-management software. The company. The round was led by Hyperplane with the participation of Ravelin Capital, Riot Ventures, and Whoop co-founder John Capodilupo. Integrate Space also won a $1.25 million contract from the US Space Force and signed Firefly Aerospace as a customer.

Satim raises $2 million

Satim has secured $2 million to advance its AI-based software capable of automatic object detection, identification, and classification using satellite synthetic aperture radar satellite imagery. Cultivation Capital led the round.

Dutch startup Meteory raised €550k pre-seed round

Meteory raised €550,000 (USD $596,313) in a funding round led by Shamrock Ventures with the participation of Le Stud, HEARTFELT_/APX, Campus Fund, and angel investors. Meteory’s software uses data analytics and machine learning to help customers understand their environmental impacts.


Vega launch date set

Arianespace is targeting its third – and possibly final – launch of the year for Wednesday, October 4, 2023, at 9:36 PM EDT (01:36 AM UTC on October 5), from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. A Vega launcher will launch the THailand Earth Observation System-2 (THEOS-2) satellite and the FORMOSAT-7R/TRITON meteorological satellite for the Taiwan Space Agency.

Vega is a smaller version of the Vega-C rocket, which remains grounded after failing on its second flight in December 2022. Arianespace has not announced when Vega-C will return to service. The company launched the last Ariane 5 rocket in July. Its replacement, Ariane 6, will make its inaugural flight in 2024.

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