Aerostar International LLC Announces Acquisition of Near Space Corporation

The broadened set of products and services will immediately benefit both Aerostar and Near Space customers!  


Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA—Aerostar International LLC and TCOM Holdings are excited to announce the acquisition of Near Space Corporation of Tillamook, Oregon. This strategic move marks a significant milestone in Aerostar’s journey toward innovation and expansion within the aerospace and defense sector. 

Near Space Corporation has operated since 1996 as an expert in high-altitude flight testing and complex Aerospace soft goods designs. Examples include drop testing the Boeing Starliner parachute systems from altitude, prototyping planetary balloon systems with NASA JPL to explore the atmosphere of Venus, and fabricating the air barrier for the Bigelow BEAM inflatable module on the International Space Station. In addition, Near Space manages the Tillamook Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Range, one of seven FAA-designated UAS Testing locations in the United States. 

The Tillamook facility and team bring tremendous synergy to Aerostar’s customers and operations. A new launch location on the West Coast is geographically strategic for Pacific high-altitude balloon operations and is located near key customer facilities. The test range provides an advantageous location for Aerostar’s integration partners in the radar and stratospheric platform markets to test combined concepts of operations. Near Space has experience in operations for larger balloon launches, as well as a unique capability with their NS3 high-altitude gliding UAS. Pairing these technologies with Aerostar’s Thunderstorm mission planning and command and control software will benefit customers of both companies on day one. NSC’s Space Materials expertise will open up new markets for Aerostar and TCOM.

“I’m excited to bring Near Space’s technology, location, and team members into the Aerostar team. They are well aligned to our culture and will drive forward our mission to connect, protect, and save lives,” said Jim Nelson, President of Aerostar. “Our combined experience in the stratosphere will further strengthen Aerostar’s position as a world leader in high-altitude lighter-than-air solutions.”

Tim Lachenmeier, Chief Executive Officer of Near Space Corporation, said, “I started this company almost thirty years ago to do high altitude flight testing, and we’ve grown to be so much more than that. I couldn’t be more proud of what our team has accomplished in recent years, and I can’t imagine a better home for our future!”

TCOM CEO Ron Bendlin on the significant impact this acquisition has on the portfolio’s future, “The enabling capabilities we have brought together will greatly enhance our ability to offer responsive and reliable solutions for persistent elevated awareness and deep sensing. As we continue to grow, we look forward to the future and how we can continue to adapt and help meet the needs of the modern warfighter.”    

About Near Space Corporation

Near Space Corporation operates the Johnson Near Space Center at the Port of Tillamook (OR) Airport that includes a custom integration hangar, an avionics laboratory, a control tower equipped with live feeds of aviation traffic data, and access to the Tillamook Test Range Operations Area with 32,000 square miles of regional airspace and nearby Pacific Ocean and W-570 Special Use Airspace. The combined operations of the Johnson Near Space Center and Tillamook UAS Test Range offer access to a wide array of testing environments and professional range support for the testing of unmanned technologies. Near Space Corporation also supports balloon operations for NASA at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) in Palestine, Texas through a partnership with Peraton.

About Aerostar

With more than 65 years of lighter-than-air innovation and expertise, Aerostar is dedicated to connecting, protecting, and saving lives.  Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Aerostar provides world-leading solutions in the aerospace and defense market, focused on stratospheric balloon systems and radar solutions.  Learn more at Aerostar is part of the TCOM portfolio of aerospace and defense companies.

For Media Inquiries:

Anastasia Quanbeck
Director of Culture and Communications
Aerostar International, LLC