November 28, 2022

NASA awards Honeybee Robotics $17.7M contract for Mars mission work

LONGMONT — Honeybee Robotics LLC, a Longmont-headquartered subsidiary of Jeff Bezos-owned aerospace company Blue Origin LLC, was awarded a nearly $17.7 million contract by NASA to build components for the agency’s Mars Sample Return mission.

That mission seeks to use robots to help bring samples — soil and atmospheric compounds, for example — collected on Mars to Earth for study.

The work performed under Honeybee’s contract, which expires in 2026, will be performed at the company’s facility in Altadena, California, and at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the agency said in a news release. 

Honeybee set up shop in Longmont a little more than a decade ago. 

The local operation, which serves as Honeybee’s corporate headquarters, is home to the company’s motion control division. That division “provides unique spacecraft solutions including Solar Array Drives, Actuators, and Motor Controllers,” according to the company’s website. Honeybee’s California outpost houses its exploration systems division. 

Bezos’ Blue Origin acquired Honeybee from former parent firm Ensign-Bickford Industries Inc. this year for an undisclosed sum.

At the time of the deal, Blue Origin said, “Honeybee’s business will continue to operate ‘business as usual’ with no notable changes to its brand, leaders, customer commitments, products, services or processes.”