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Blue Origin, the sub-orbital spaceflight company founded by Jeff Bezos, is acquiring Honeybee Robotics for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close in mid-February, and Honeybee Robotics will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blue Origin.
Founded in 1983, Honeybee Robotics is an R&D engineering company that has delivered more than 1,000 projects to government and industrial customers in the spacecraft, planetary exploration, defense robotics, medical devices, mining, oil and gas, and utility infrastructure sectors. It is best known for developing robotics systems for the space industry, including actuators, drills and sample collection systems for several Mars missions.
Honeybee and Blue Origin were already collaborating prior to the deal. In December 2021, NASA announced that Honeybee Robotics was developing a system for testing viscous bubble behavior in lunar gravity conditions. It could help researchers understand molten regolith electrolysis techniques that could be used to extract oxygen from lunar soil. The technology is planned to fly on Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital rocket system.
Honeybee Robotics has major operations in Longmont, Colorado and Altadena, California. Blue Origin, which is coming off of a series of successful space flights, is based in Kent, Washington.
Blue Origin said Honeybee’s capabilities and experience are complementary to Blue Origin’s goals of making space flight routine and opening space resources to benefit Earth.
“We’re beyond excited to welcome Honeybee Robotics to our team,” said Brent Sherwood, senior vice president of advanced development programs for Blue Origin. “We know Honeybee’s leadership. We value the company’s brand, talent, unique expertise, and product lines. And we know that together we will make bold things possible.”
Honeybee’s business will continue to operate as usual with no notable changes to its brand, leaders, customer commitments, products, services or processes. Over time, the combined capabilities of Honeybee and Blue Origin will create new opportunities, efficiencies, and innovations as they work together to develop space to benefit Earth.
“We’ve been building Honeybee’s capabilities and brand for almost forty years,” said Kiel Davis, President of Honeybee Robotics. “Joining Blue Origin is a major step forward for us. We thank the entire EBI family for their support over the last four and a half years. With Blue Origin we look forward to further expanding our capacity to meet the most exciting challenges in next-generation space transportation, space mobility, space destinations, and planetary science and exploration.”
In 2017, Honeybee Robotics was acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries, a 181-year-old privately held corporation with headquarters in Simsbury, Connecticut.