Spaceflight Industries goes through financial restructuring as key launch nears


Spaceflight’s team gathers in front of SpaceX’s facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California during preparations for a dedicated-rideshare launch. (SpaceflightInc via Twitter)

Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries laid out the status of a debt restructuring plan this week in advance of its most ambitious satellite launch operation to date.

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday describe an offering of $29.9 million in debt instruments and options for other securities, with five investors participating to date. The filing said $22 million of the offering has been sold, with $7.9 million remaining.

Spaceflight Industries spokeswoman Jodi Sorensen told GeekWire in an email that the filing was triggered when the company finished up a restructuring deal.

“Part of that funding ($15M) went through restructuring, making it more available to us, while the current investors did invest another $7M,” she explained. “So some is from restructuring, some is net new investment.”

Further details about the restructuring deal were not immediately available, but we’ll update this item with anything more we hear.

Spaceflight Industries’ previous investors include Vulcan Capital, the late billionaire Paul Allen’s venture capital fund, as well as a French-Italian joint venture known as The Space Alliance, Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management, RRE Venture Capital and Razor’s Edge Ventures.

Spaceflight Industries has two service subsidiaries: Spaceflight, which deals with satellite launch logistics; and BlackSky, which offers geospatial data services on its Spectra software platform and is gearing up to have its own Earth-observing satellite constellation put in orbit.

The company is also involved in a joint venture with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture satellites for BlackSky at a facility in Tukwila, Wash. The joint venture, known as LeoStella, has been tasked with building 20 satellites for the constellation over the next year or two.

After years of preparation, Spaceflight is getting ready for Monday’s scheduled launch of 64 satellites from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Seattle company has been in charge of signing up customers and managing spacecraft integration on a custom-built, multi-tiered deployment structure.

Among the payloads will be the first BlackSky Global satellite to go into orbit.

Spaceflight says the mission to sun-synchronous orbit, known as SSO-A or the SmallSat Express, will be the largest single rideshare mission launched using a U.S.-based rocket. For what it’s worth, India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV, holds the record for most satellites launched on a single rocket, thanks to a 104-satellite launch in February 2017 in which Spaceflight played a role.

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