Former Polaris Alpha CEO takes the helm at a new firm focused on space

Polaris Alpha's former CEO is now the chief executive of a new space technology player in Redwire that can trace its history back almost six decades through a legacy company. He tells us how Redwire plans to stand out in a crowded market landscape.

Two years after he led one private equity-backed contractor through a sale, Pete Cannito has taken the lead at a new space technology market player in Redwire.

AE Industrial Partners launched Redwire through its acquisition of a payload provider and combined it with another component maker. Redwire then made its first deal relatively quickly.

In case anyone has not heard, space is a sector of hot interest both in terms of investment dollars in the private sector and government agencies’ willingness to lean on the former given changes in economic and investment models.

“Quickly when we started looking at the trends out there, space emerged as one of those areas we believe is really important for the future and was at a point in its lifecycle that it was really ripe for additional investment,” Cannito said of his work with AE in the lead-up to Redwire’s launch.

But what will make Redwire different in such a crowded field of competitors?

Cannito pointed to the fact that Redwire’s history traces back to 1957 through one legacy company in Adcole Space. Redwire’s other two pieces -- Deep Space Systems and Made In Space – were respectively founded in 2001 and 2010.

Such a blend offers both “heritage and innovation” as a differentiator, Cannito said, plus how he sees Redwire taking a “pragmatic approach” in the technologies it incorporates.

“There’s a lot of venture-backed companies out there that are truly disruptors. Many of those won’t survive and their technology will have to transition in some way,” Cannito told me. “The areas that we’re focusing on: we’re basically looking at those critical technologies and infrastructures associated with space exploration, civil and commercial, space infrastructure and national security solutions as well that can take advantage of on-orbit and in-space manufacturing and assembly.”

Made in Space was a specific example Cannito offered as a company that both disrupted the market it plays in and was able to get past what he called the “Valley of Death,” which means they became a cash flow positive business.

When asked about the changing economics of space and changes to come, Cannito also offered up a saying he repeats in speeches about the topic: “Physics will get you into space but economics will keep you there.”

Companies like Redwire are tasked to continue making those changes happen in order to make space more affordable to access both for government and commercial customers. Being able to do in-orbit assembly and manufacturing is one of those trends that helps bring costs down and change the model, according to Cannito.

By acquiring Made in Space, Redwire gains a contract to do just that for NASA’s Archinaut One mission for demonstrating in-space assembly of solar arrays.

For the most part today, the ability to get space assets up in the sky depends on the availability of launch platforms on the ground. Putting more weight into the launch platform means costs go up, as does designing and configuring the space assets to survive the launch.

“More so than ever, I believe that the space industry is open to new players and new ideas,” Cannito said, pointing to examples of companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin that have been around for barely 20 years. “There’s a real open mindedness and a real understanding that we have to be able to do things differently in the future in order to realize the full potential of space.”

Potential future acquisitions also came up in our conversation given Redwire’s ownership. What makes a good fit for Redwire to make a deal?

“We’re looking for those companies that have demonstrated they have the expertise and flight heritage to successfully operate in space, but doing things in an innovative and new way that has a potential to transform how we go forward into the future," he said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.