Blue Origin Acquires Honeybee Robotics – AutoID Technology

WASHINGTON – Blue Origin is buying Honeybee Robotics, a company that develops robotic systems for space and other extreme environments.

Honeybee Robotics announced Jan. 25 that its parent company Ensign-Bickford Industries is selling it to Blue Origin. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in mid-February, were not disclosed.

Honeybee Robotics is best known in the space industry for the development of robotic systems, particularly drills and other mechanisms, for use in space missions. These included drills and sample collection systems flown on several Mars missions, as well as others developed for missions to the moon and NASA’s Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s moon Titan.

“Joining Blue Origin is a huge step forward for us,” Kiel Davis, president of Honeybee Robotics, said in a statement. “With Blue Origin, we look forward to further expanding our capabilities to address the most exciting challenges in next-generation space transportation, space mobility, space destinations, and planetary science and exploration.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Honeybee Robotics to our team,” said Brent Sherwood, Blue Origin’s senior vice president of advanced development programs, in the statement. “We value the company’s brand, talent, unique expertise and product lines. And we know that together we will make bold things possible.”

Founded in New York City in 1983, Honeybee began working on NASA projects in 1986. The company now has locations in Colorado and Southern California and works in terrestrial mining, energy, defense and other industrial applications in addition to space. Ensign-Bickford acquired Honeybee in 2017 and combined it with Avior Controls, a maker of space-faring mechanisms, in 2019.

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Blue Origin said it will keep Honeybee as a separate entity and with “no significant changes” to its products or customers. It hasn’t disclosed its long-term plans for the company or its technologies, though Blue Origin and its founder Jeff Bezos have long discussed using space resources to enable humanity’s expansion into space.

“Over time, the combined capabilities of Honeybee and Blue Origin will create new opportunities, efficiencies and innovations as they work together to develop space for the benefit of Earth,” the companies said.

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