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Redwire Space Expands VLEO Satellite Portfolio with Phantom Platform

Redwire Space has unveiled its latest offering, the Phantom spacecraft platform, through its European subsidiary.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Fri May 10 2024Written by Zac Aubert

In a strategic move to capitalize on the burgeoning market for very low Earth orbit (VLEO) satellites, Redwire Space has unveiled its latest offering, the Phantom spacecraft platform, through its European subsidiary.

The announcement came during Redwire's May 9 earnings call, signaling the company's strong commitment to this emerging sector.

Phantom, developed by Redwire's European business unit in Belgium, marks the company's second foray into VLEO satellite technology, following the earlier unveiling of the SabreSat platform in March. Both platforms, while serving the same orbital niche, employ distinct technologies tailored to diverse customer needs.

"SabreSat and Phantom do not share a common technological baseline. They are two different platforms with different underlying technologies and performance parameters. Different approaches reduce risk and enable us to cover a broader set of customer requirements." - Peter Cannito, CEO of Redwire

The Phantom platform is specifically engineered for missions at orbits below 300 kilometers, where atmospheric drag exerts significant influence, necessitating aerodynamic designs and advanced propulsion systems to maintain orbit.

With the capacity to accommodate payloads weighing up to 50 kilograms and a total spacecraft mass of up to 300 kilograms, Phantom promises versatility for a range of missions. Additionally, the spacecraft utilizes electric propulsion, enabling mission durations of up to five years.

Redwire's proactive approach to innovation has garnered notable interest, particularly in the U.S. government sector.

At the GEOINT Symposium, company officials revealed that agencies are intrigued by SabreSat's potential to deliver enhanced imaging resolution and heightened resilience from operating in lower orbits.

"This is a very exciting indicator that the market recognizes SabreSat’s potential as a critical capability. We are very encouraged with the reception that SabreSat has received since our announcement and we continue to pursue meaningful opportunities for this potentially groundbreaking VLEO spacecraft." - Peter Cannito, CEO of Redwire

Redwire's expansion into VLEO satellite technology aligns with its overarching strategy to transition from a supplier to a prime contractor.

"We are bidding more as a prime than we have in the past" - Peter Cannito, CEO of Redwire

Beyond its VLEO initiatives, Redwire recently secured a study contract from NASA as part of the agency's exploration of commercial Mars missions. The $200,000 study aims to adapt a commercial Earth imaging spacecraft for Mars applications, utilizing technology based on the Proba spacecraft developed in Europe.

Financially, Redwire reported robust performance in the first quarter of 2024, with revenues reaching $87.8 million, marking a notable 52% increase over the same period in 2023. The company maintained consistent adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) at $4.3 million. Although Redwire reported a net loss of $8.1 million for the quarter, the overall positive momentum towards profitability, is underscored by five consecutive quarters of positive adjusted EBITDA and sustained revenue growth.

Redwire's strategic investments in VLEO satellite technology position it at the forefront of innovation, poised to capitalize on the expanding demand for advanced space systems.