General Atomics acquires Guidestar Optical Systems


SAN FRANCISCO — General Atomics announced Oct. 28 the acquisition of Guidestar Optical Systems, a space and defense company based in Longmont, Colorado, which it plans to integrate into the General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) group.

“We are excited to bring the Guidestar team on board to further enhance our diverse portfolio of laser technologies,” GA-EMS President Scott Forney said in a statement. “Guidestar’s expertise in adaptive optics has led to significant advancements in laser communications, high-energy laser technologies, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and atmospheric measurement and forecasting. This acquisition expands our ability to design, build, test and deliver an extensive set of optical technologies to our customers.”

GA-EMS is working with the U.S. Space Development Agency to conduct a series of tests of optical intersatellite links using GA-EMS’s internally developed laser communication terminals.

Guidestar Optical Systems, founded in 2013, focuses on designing and developing optical systems for directed energy and laser communications.

In 2019, Guidestar Optical Systems won Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer awards from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army for a series of projects, including an Air Force contract to fabricate adaptive optics for a meter-class space surveillance telescope. Guidestar Optical won another Air Force contract to develop the architecture for a free space optical communications planning tool.

Guidestar is the latest in a series of acquisitions by General Atomics. In recent years, General Atomics has bolstered GA-EMS with the acquisitions of Syntronics, a developer and manufacturer of custom electro-mechanical technologies; Neva Ridge Technologies, a synthetic aperture radar company;  the U.S. subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology; and Miltec Corp., a hypersonic vehicles and small satellite specialist.

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