Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is deepening its investment in satellite manufacturer Terran Orbital with a $100 million investment and a cooperation agreement for the development and sale of smallsats through 2035.
Terran also announced that it will now build its massive, $300 million space vehicle manufacturing facility in Irvine, California, not Florida as originally planned. CEO Marc Bell told press that the company decided to move the facility to California, where Terran Orbital already has a substantial footprint, because it could move into the facilities faster than in Florida. It’s a big loss for Space Florida, the state’s economic development agency focused on aerospace, which was going to provide the conduit financing for the facility.
Boca Raton, Florida-based Terran Orbital is a contract manufacturer, designing and building satellites for the U.S. government and commercial customers. Bell estimated to TechCrunch in an interview last year that around 95% of the company’s work is related to the Department of Defense and NASA.
Lockheed Martin made its first investment in Terran back in 2017; the following year, it led a $36 million investment round. The new funds from Lockheed will go toward acquiring additional assembly space and increasing satellite module production, Terran said in a statement. The smallsat manufacturer also said it planned on expanding its offerings to include a synthetic aperture radar satellite product line and satellite components and subassemblies, like reaction wheels and star trackers.
The company was originally planning to launch and operate its own SAR satellite constellation, called PredaSAR, but it decided to pivot 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 a handful of space ventures that have gone public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition vehicle, or SPAC. The company’s stock price saw a brief price jump with the news about the deal with Lockheed, closing on October 31 at $2.62 a share. Like other companies post-SPAC merger, Terran’s stock value has plummeted since its public market debut: it’s currently down around 72% year to date.