Terran Orbital touts military and defense contracts before going public

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Terran Orbital executives have told investors the company is heavily focused on government work and expects significant revenue from defense and intelligence contracts

WASHINGTON — Terran Orbital, a manufacturer and integrator of small satellites based in Boca Raton, Fla., announced Feb. 17 that it has won a contract from U.S. Army prime contractor Lockheed Martin to produce and launch three spacecraft for demonstration. of product.

Lockheed Martin is not only a customer of Terran Orbital but a long-time investor in the company. Tyvak Nano Satellite Systems, a satellite bus provider owned by Terran Orbital, is Lockheed Martin’s partner for the contract the latter won in 2020 to build 10 satellites for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency.

Terran Orbital is one of many companies in the space industry to go public through a merger with a blank check company or SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company). In an investor presentation on Feb. 17, executives said they expect the SPAC deal with Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp., announced in October, to close in the coming weeks.

The company is venturing into the public markets as space companies that have entered into SPAC deals over the past year have seen their values ​​plummet due to extensive sales and concerns about their time to profitability.

Terran Orbital executives noted that the company is looking for commercial customers, but is heavily focused on government work and expects significant revenue from military and intelligence contracts.

“We have real income, and a real order book.” said Terran Orbital CEO and co-founder Marc Bell. “Lockheed Martin uses Tyvak satellites for proposals to the United States government,” he said. “We can leverage the experience of the largest government in the world with the entrepreneurial spirit of a small business.”

Lockheed Martin’s latest order for three satellites is one of many Terran Orbit has won over the past six months, valued at more than $170 million, according to the company. This includes multiple awards from government and commercial customers.

Bell, in its speech to investors, said that small satellites are “the future of space” and that Terran Orbital is one of the few remaining independent manufacturers of small satellites. “Our competitors belong to conglomerates. You can’t invest in them directly,” he said, referring to smaller satellite providers like Millennium Space Systems and Blue Canyon Technologies that have been acquired in recent years by Boeing and Raytheon, respectively.

New SAR Constellation

Terran Orbital has been reorganized into two business segments: Satellite Solutions and Earth Observation Solutions.

Satellite Solutions acquires Tyvak. Bell said the company is phasing out the Tyvak name as Terran Orbital is moving to larger satellites — ranging from 150 to 500 kilograms — and will no longer manufacture nano-satellites.

To strengthen its presence in the military market, Terran Orbital has hired a number of retired officers. The president of Satellite Solutions is Christian “Boris” Becker, a retired US Navy rear admiral who led the Navy’s Space Warfare Command.

Earth Observation Solutions is the company that will oversee PredaSAR, a company created by Terran Orbital in 2019 to build a constellation of 48 radar imaging spacecraft satellites. The first satellite is expected to be launched later this year.

Terran Orbital manufactures PredaSAR satellites in Irvine, California. It is also opening a new manufacturing facility near Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The U.S. military and intelligence community will be PredaSAR’s primary customers, Bell said.

Roger Teague, a retired major general who led strategic planning at US Air Force Space Command; and Dave Mann, a retired major general who led the U.S. Army’s space sand missile defense programs, told investors they see strong demand in the U.S. military for radar imagery. with opening synthesis.

Mann said the military is the largest military user of SAR imagery. PredaSAR won a $2 million contract from the US Space Force in December to demonstrate interoperability between its satellites and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Blackjack constellation. And it is one of five SAR image providers selected last month by the National Reconnaissance Office for study contracts.

Teague said he expects these study contracts to lead to long-term supply agreements. “The government likes to take a crawl, walk, run approach to building relationships with commercial vendors.”

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