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Spaceflight Industries to sell its satellite rideshare launch business to two Japanese companies

By Ramla Soni

The deal sees both companies co-owning Spaceflight in a 50/50 joint venture after its closing

Spaceflight Industries, owner of both Spaceflight and BlackSky, is selling the Spaceflight part of its business to Japanese industrial mega corporation Mitsui & Co, and Yamasa.

The deal sees both companies co-owning Spaceflight in a 50/50 joint venture after its closing and will see Spaceflight continue to operate as an independent business headquartered in Seattle.

Spaceflight, which provides ride-share launch services for small satellite payloads, started in 2010. It has launched a total of 271 satellites on 29 separate rocket launches, with 10 missions set to take place this year.

Meanwhile, Spaceflight Industries will use the funds from the sale – of which the terms of the deal have not been disclosed – to re-invest in its BlackSky business.

BlackSky is an Earth observation company that deals in geospatial intelligence, which concerns human activity on earth.

BlackSky currently operates four satellites in orbit, with eight more planned to join its constellation later this year.

The deal also means that Mistui & Co, which is one of Japan’s largest businesses – and operates in sectors including infrastructure, energy production, IT, food, consumer products, mining, chemicals and more – will now be in the rocket launch ride-share business as well.

Mitsui has an aerospace arm that includes a space business, which provides satellite development, launch and operation services. It said that Spaceflight will become “the cornerstone” of its space strategy pending close of the deal.

FURTHER READING: SpaceX launches new online tool to book a rocket launch

FURTHER READING: SpaceX launches third batch of Starlink satellites for broadband internet

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