Lockheed Martin ups bet on satellite maker Terran Orbital with $100m investment

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is bolstering its investment in satellite maker Terran Orbital with a $100 million investment and a cooperation agreement to develop and sell small satellites through 2035.

Terran also announced that it would now build its massive $300 million space vehicle manufacturing plant in Irvine, California, and not in Florida as originally planned. CEO Marc Bell told the press that the company decided to move the facility to California, where Terran Orbital already has a substantial footprint, because it could move through facilities faster than in Florida. It’s a big loss for Space Florida, the state’s aerospace-focused economic development agency, which was going to provide the conduit funding for the facility.

Terran Orbital, based in Boca Raton, Florida, is a contract manufacturer, designing and building satellites for US government and commercial customers. Bell estimated to TechCrunch in an interview last year that about 95% of the company’s work is related to the Department of Defense and NASA.

Lockheed Martin made its first investment in Terran in 2017; the following year, he led a $36 million investment round. Lockheed’s new funds will be used to acquire additional assembly space and increase production of satellite modules, Terran said in a statement. The small satellite maker also said it plans to expand its offerings to include a product line of synthetic aperture radar satellites and satellite components and subassemblies, such as reaction wheels and trackers. of stars.

The company originally planned to launch and operate its own constellation of SAR satellites, called PredaSAR, but decided to deviate from those plans and offer the technology as a product instead. Terran said the conflict in Ukraine showed the need for advanced satellite imagery.

Terran Orbital is one of the few space companies that went public via a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Vehicle, or SPAC. The company’s stock price saw a brief price rally with the announcement of the Lockheed deal, closing Oct. 31 at $2.62 per share. Like other companies after the SPAC merger, Terran’s stock value has fallen since its public market debut: it’s currently down about 72% year-to-date.