SpaceX buys out a bankrupt company with 85 years of experience for the future of space exploration

According to The Information article, SpaceX quietly but effectively acquired an important parachute manufacturer that was on the verge of bankruptcy. This is an extremely important step for a launch service provider that plays a key role in getting NASA’s manned missions back to the moon.

Illustration of SpaceX’s collaboration with Pioneer Aerospace

Pioneer Aerospace, a company that manufactures parachutes for reuse by spacecraft, including for the Dragon capsules that SpaceX launches to the International Space Station, suddenly found itself on the verge of bankruptcy. Elon Musk’s company acquired it for USD 2.2 million. The deal became known only at the end of last week.

This was SpaceX’s first publicly known acquisition since 2021, when they paid USD 524 million for satellite company Swarm to enhance Starlink communications.

Pioneer is a company with many years of experience, operating in the market since 1938. It provides parachutes for numerous NASA projects, including the Gemini spacecraft, Space Shuttle, as well as the Galileo probe, the Mars Pathfinder mission and the Opportunity rover.

The Dragon spacecraft descends on parachutes from Pioneer Aerospace

The acquisition of Pioneer will allow SpaceX to retain valuable experience in developing complex parachutes for spacecraft, as well as reduce the cost of manufacturing its own parts.

The alternative would be to let the company go bankrupt, but such a decision could lead to serious losses.

“Space is hard, but space parachutes are much harder,” said Abhi Tripathi, director of mission operations at the University of California, Berkeley Space Science Laboratory and a former SpaceX employee. This step by Elon Musk’s company testifies to its sanity and demonstrates that common sense sometimes wins in space activities, and not just the desire to save money or earn money.

Earlier, we reported on how Falcon 9 flights tore the sky into ionospheric holes.

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