A deal has been reached by Norway-based Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (Kongsberg) to buy NanoAvionics, a smallsat mission integrator, as well as bus maker. With the anticipated acquisition, Kongsberg is going to offer products as well as technology for the creation of tiny satellites in addition to its existing space portfolio.
Having more than 150 personnel, NanoAvionics has worked on more than 120 missions and projects involving commercial satellites, with clients that include national space agencies, institutions like UNSW Sydney, and businesses like , the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, Aurora Insight, Thales Alenia Space, SEN, and others.
In a deal valued at $67 million, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace will purchase the majority of NanoAvionics. According to the terms of the deal announced on July 5, Kongsberg will purchase 77% of NanoAvionics, with the management controlling the remaining 23%. In 2018, AST SpaceMobile bought a 51 percent stake in NanoAvionics; it will sell those shares.
“The decision to purchase NanoAvionics signifies a turning point for Kongsberg’s space ambitions. Kongsberg’s CEO, Geir Hy, stated in a statement that by acquiring NanoAvionics, the company “expands its portfolio to include technologies and products for designing and producing small satellites. We have clear aspirations to expand, and with this acquisition, we are moving forward both for us as well as the Norwegian space sector.”
The agreement was reached six weeks after Kongsberg ordered 3 small satellites from NanoAvionics. The satellites, whose launch is planned for 2024, will be utilized to monitor ships using both radar emissions from ships without Identification System (AIS) transponders as well as AIS transponders. When the agreement was announced, Kongsberg management said that the three satellites could serve as the foundation of a bigger constellation for international coverage.
These three satellites will use NanoAvionics’ MP42 satellite bus, which is intended for satellites weighing 50 kg or more and marks a change from the company’s former focus on cubesat-class spacecraft. On SpaceX’s Transporter-4 rideshare voyage in April, the maiden MP42 satellite, which is a technology demonstrator alongside some hosted payloads, was launched.
With a U.S. subsidiary and a Lithuanian base, NanoAvionics has amassed a broad clientele for its small satellites. Moreover to the Kongsberg deal, it has recently announced contracts to offer satellite buses or full spacecraft for companies such as Gama, which is creating solar sail technology, as well as Turion Space, which wants to provide satellite repair and debris removal. Additionally, agreements to supply satellites to Australian and New Zealand universities and research institutions were made public.
In the space business, Kongsberg is best regarded for Kongsberg Satellite Services, commonly abbreviated as KSAT, a top-ground station network operator. Kongsberg makes spacecraft subsystems.