Astra to Aquire spacecraft propulsion company Apollo Fusion

In a deal announced on June 7, Astra will buy Apollo Fusion for $30 million in shares and $20 million in cash. The agreement calls for an extra $95 million in earn-out incentives if Apollo Fusion meets specified technical and revenue targets.

Fremont, CA: As part of its drive to construct vertically-integrated space systems, launch vehicle producer Astra is acquiring Apollo Fusion, a business that develops electric propulsion systems for spacecraft.

In a deal announced on June 7, Astra will buy Apollo Fusion for $30 million in shares and $20 million in cash. The agreement calls for an extra $95 million in earn-out incentives if Apollo Fusion meets specified technical and revenue targets.

Astra will use Apollo Fusion's Apollo Constellation Engine electric propulsion systems in satellite buses it is developing to provide clients with a complete solution. Astra revealed its satellite aspirations in February when it announced a merger with Holicity, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The acquisition will be completed after Astra's merger with Holicity is completed later this year, according to the firms.

Both businesses have stated that they intend to mass-produce their systems. Astra aims to accomplish daily launches by the middle of the decade, whereas Apollo Fusion has prioritized production agreements that will allow it to mass-produce thrusters in enormous quantities.

Astra roadmap

The acquisition of Apollo Fusion by Astra is the latest in a string of events for the company. It confirmed a contract with Planet on May 18 to launch multiple imaging satellites for Planet in 2022.

Kemp stated in the interview that Astra has over 50 launches under contract, serving a mix of government and commercial customers, albeit Planet is the company's first publicly announced customer. "Planet is probably the pioneer in the small satellite space," he stated. "We couldn't be more proud to have them as the first customer we could announce."

Astra also said that it has a plan in place to construct larger vehicles capable of carrying up to 500 kilos into orbit. The business did not reveal any technical information about the plan, nor did it provide a timetable for constructing those larger vehicles.

Kemp stated that the roadmap was informed by proposals for numerous mega-constellations. "We want to converge with what these megaconstellation operators are designing and flying in 2023," he stated. "It's about being the most responsive launch service provider and also being the best way for us to build our own platform."

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