WASHINGTON — AE Industrial Partners, a private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, agreed to acquire a majority stake in York Space Systems a supplier of small satellites, components and space mission operations.

Funds and accounts managed by BlackRock Private Equity Partners also will invest in the transaction, AEI said in a statement. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

York makes low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous equatorial orbit and cislunar spacecraft. The company’s products are designed for communications, EO/IR, radio frequency, hyperspectral, weather, remote proximity ops and other operations and can meet the schedule-driven, high-volume demand for small satellite constellations, AEI said.

The company serves government and commercial customers, including the Space Development Agency, for whom York is providing spacecraft as part of both Tranche 0 and Tranche 1 of the agency’s Transport Layer. It has about 165,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Colorado, and with the opening of a facility in the Denver Tech Center, York can produce more than 750 satellites a year.

“With its innovative spacecraft designs and manufacturing processes, York has revolutionized the small satellite market, which is poised for significant growth in both the government and commercial markets over the next 20 years,” said Kirk Konert, partner at AEI, in the statement. “Backing the largest independent small satellite manufacturer represents a unique opportunity to serve the fast-growing LEO commercialization and national security markets.”

CEO Dirk Wallinger, who founded York in 2012, will continue to lead the company, and Chairman Charles “Chuck” Beames will remain on its board of directors. Both maintain significant ownership positions in York, AEI said.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor and Ernst & Young as financial advisor to AEI. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP acted as legal advisor and Jefferies LLC as exclusive financial advisor to York.

Separately, AEI said Chris Emerson, former chairman and CEO of Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, joined the firm as an operating partner, effective immediately. He also serves on the boards of AEI portfolio companies Belcan, Firefly Aerospace and The Atlas Group.

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