Main Engine Cut Off

Astroscale Acquires Space Drones, Will Integrate and Launch from US

Sandra Erwin, for SpaceNews:

Effective Space Solutions, located in Israel, developed a satellite servicing vehicle known as Space Drone which is not yet in operation. Astroscale is acquiring the intellectual property associated with Space Drone and is hiring engineers and executives from the program.

The Space Drone will evolve into an Astroscale servicing platform, Ron Lopez, president and managing director of Astroscale U.S., told SpaceNews.

“It will be a new program and will be called something else,” he said. “We will integrate the payload in the United States and deliver that service from the U.S.”

This feels like a natural extension for Astroscale, who until now has been focused on satellite end-of-life and debris removal services.

By standing up a US subsidiary, it allows Astroscale to directly compete with Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicles and makes things a bit easier to manage and provide services to US government or private assets.

The acquisition still needs to close, but assuming it does, I wonder what this does to the two Space Drones that were due to launch as secondary payloads on a Proton later this year:

Effective Space will use the Space Drones to perform life extension services for a customer’s two satellites. That unnamed customer is paying around $100 million for multi-year life extension.