Arcfield adds small satellite skills with new acquisition

An artist rendering of a cubesat orbiting Earth.

An artist rendering of a cubesat orbiting Earth. Thibault Renard

The buyer is also adding more work in sensor and ground network development.

The acquiring continues for Arcfield as the private equity-backed company has closed its second transaction in four months.

Arcfield has purchased Orion Space Solutions for an undisclosed amount to further build around capabilities in space exploration and hypersonic detection and tracking. Most of Orion's customers are in the Defense Department and the intelligence community.

Orion’s focus is on atmospheric science, space exploration and research, and technology development.

The company describes its capabilities as including design, integration and assembly of small satellites and so-called CubeSats that can be as small as 3.9 inches square. CubeSats are primarily used in low Earth orbit, according to NASA.

Louisville, Colorado-headquartered Orion also develops sensors, computational models and data products for the space and ground network domains.

“Arcfield has a long history of delivering innovative solutions across the space domain, and we believe the acquisition of Orion enhances Arcfield’s ability to provide next-generation space technologies in support of DOD and IC missions,” Arcfield CEO Kevin Kelly said in a release.

Orion will now be a fourth business sector of Arcfield, which Veritas Capital in 2021 through a carveout from fellow portfolio company Peraton.

Kelly described the company’s strategy and investment philosophy in an April WT 360 podcast with Ross Wilkers.

Arcfield started to show more of that strategy in August when it acquired Strategic Technology Consulting to bring in more model-based systems engineering skills.

Orion’s CEO Geoff Crowley has joined Arcfield as chief scientist to lead space research and development efforts.

Chad Fish, formerly chief operating officer of Orion, is now president and general manager of the business.

Latham & Watkins LLP and Covington & Burling LLP were legal counsel to Arcfield. Orion was advised by the Forbes M&A Group and represented by the Vaughn Law Offices, P.L.L.C and Dentons Durham Jones Pinegar P.C.