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Boeing to acquire Millennium satellite venture

Aquila satellite
Artist’s concept shows Millennium’s Aquila satellite in orbit. (Millennium Space Systems Illustration)

Boeing says it’ll expand its already-strong satellite portfolio with the acquisition of Millennium Space Systems, a California-based venture that specializes in small satellites for national security customers.

Founded in 2001, Millennium had its first satellite, the 200-kilogram (440-pound) Rapid Pathfinder Prototype, launched in 2011 for the National Reconnaissance Office’s NROL-66 mission. Millennium says it provided more than six years of operations for three classified payloads.

The privately held company was awarded a U.S. Air Force contract for a geosynchronous satellite system, based on its Aquila platform. It also won backing from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for a class of small satellites that can be built in 90 days for less than $500,000.

The first satellite in that class, Altair Pathfinder, was deployed into orbit from the International Space Station last year.

“Millennium Space Systems’ expertise in vertically integrated small-satellite solutions perfectly complements Boeing’s existing satellite portfolio, and will allow us to meet the needs of a diverse customer set,” Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said today in a news release.

“We look forward to incorporating Millennium Space Systems’ end-to-end mission solution capabilities into our service offerings in satellite operations and data solutions,” Caret said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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