Astra to develop spacecraft propulsion firm – Apollo Fusion
Launch vehicle manufacturer Astra is developing Apollo Fusion, a firm creating electric propulsion systems for the space shuttle. This is a portion of its attempt to build upright integrated space systems.
Astra is buying Apollo Fusion for $30 million in stock and $20 million in cash in a contract with an announcement on June 7. The contract contains an extra $95 million in earn-out enticements if Apollo Fusion achieves specific technical and revenue objectives.
Astra will integrate Apollo Fusion’s Apollo Constellation Engine electrical propulsion systems in satellite buses the firm is evolving. This is in order to deliver an integrated solution to clients. Astra disclosed its satellite proposals in February. This is when it said it would combine with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Holicity. The firms said the procurement will close after Astra concludes its union with Holicity later this year.
In an interview, Chris Kemp, chief executive of Astra, says that Apollo Fusion’s thrusters fill a technology gap for those upcoming satellites. “What this is about is adding up a very core fragment of technology to Astra’s proposal,” he says. “It will unlock an entirely different set of client opportunities for us.”
“The following puzzle piece is the steeply combined spacecraft. So, as we began to look at that, what are the fundamental technologies that drive that?” he says. “This engine is one of those crucial cornerstones of that space platform we are constructing.”
Mike Cassidy, chief executive of Apollo Fusion, says customers of both his firm’s thrusters and Astra’s rockets were contemplating an integrated solution. “A bunch of our customers was inviting us for the overall solution for moving from the ground from the orbit they want to go. Chris’s clients are requesting the same thing,” he says in an interview.
Apollo Fusion, which has sold its Apollo Constellation Engine to numerous consumers, most newly York Space Systems, will remain to market the thruster to other firms. “We are economically driven to do that part of the agreement. Astra has made very good enticements for us to keep doing that,” Cassidy adds.
“Mike has an amazing customer manifest and pipeline, and we want to remain to provide those clients,” Kemp says. “But we are integrating what they are doing into our product as rapidly as we can.”
Both firms have underlined plans for mass manufacture of their systems. Astra has a target of doing daily releases as soon as the middle of the decade. This is while Apollo Fusion has stressed construction partnerships that would permit it to produce its thrusters in huge quantities.
Cassidy says he anticipates leveraging Astra’s projected release cadence to speed up growth and analysis of new thrusters. “The way it is now, we have to wait 9 or 12 months to do a test introduction,” he said. “But in the future, we will be capable to do a test introduction in two or four months.”
Kemp says he got a lot of comparisons between the two firms and getting known Cassidy for several years, it was obvious that a contract made sense. “It is really like we are sister firms and their technology was just a huge missing part of our overall platform,” he says.