SpaceX has acquired Pioneer Aerospace, a company that provided components for Dragon spacecraft parachutes before filing for bankruptcy.
Elon Musk's aerospace company paid $2.2 million to rescue Pioneer Aerospace , according to a Florida bankruptcy filing in November by Aviation Safety Resources (ASR), the parent company of Pioneer. The deal was first reported by The Information.
Pioneer Aerospace is based in Connecticut and has long developed parachutes for space and other applications. This included drogue chutes for SpaceX Dragon capsules and NASA Mars and asteroid sample-return missions.
Related: Facts about SpaceX's Dragon capsule
SpaceNews reports that it is speculated that SpaceX made the acquisition to protect its supply chains.
The article states that parachutes pose very complex challenges, citing Phil McAlister, director of the commercial spaceflight division at NASA Headquarters. Commenting on lessons learned from the commercial crew program last month, McAlister said: "'We've done parachutes during Apollo, how hard could it be?' It could be very hard."
Both SpaceX and Boeing have faced challenges in developing parachutes for their commercial crew spacecraft.
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Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.