Spaceflight Industries, the parent of both Spaceflight and BlackSky, is selling the Spaceflight portion of its enterprise to Japanese industrial megacorporation Mitsui & Co, and Yamasa both of which will co-run the corporation in a 50/50 joint venture.
The deal will see Spaceflight proceed to function as an impartial enterprise stationed in the U.S. and HQ in Seattle, with the same mission of offering rideshare launch services for small satellite payloads.
In the meantime, Spaceflight Industries will use the funds made from the sale to reinvest in its BlackSky enterprise.
BlackSky is an Earth observation firm that deals in geospatial intelligence and that presently runs four satellites in orbit, with eight more designed to join its constellation someday later this year.
The deal means that Mitsui & Co, which is one of Japan’s largest companies and which works in numerous industries including infrastructure, energy production, IT, food, consumer products, mining, and more, will now be in the rocket launch rideshare business as well.
Mitsui has an aerospace subsidiary that includes a space enterprise that provides satellite development, launch, and operation services.
Spaceflight has been offering its services since 2010 and has transported a total of 271 satellites on 29 separate rocket launches, with ten missions set to happen in 2020 alone.
The company’s business appears poised to grow as more launch providers and more small satellite operators enter the market, with many forecasts indicating sharp uptakes in orbit-based companies to come over the subsequent decade.