Lockheed Martin takes a strategic stake in nanosatellite company Terran Orbital

Aerospace leader Lockheed Martin has invested in U.S. nanosatellite company Terran Orbital, the latest example of how legacy and novel players alike are looking at smallsats and the industry of cheap, lightweight satellites in general as a key area of opportunity for the growing commercial space sector.

Lockheed’s equity stake is in exchange for cash and in-kind services, and the two have partnered in the past on DoD and NASA contracts. The move is intended to help Lockheed “address our customers’ increasing interest in rapid, responsive and cost-effective technology missions and demonstrations,” according to a statement from Lockheed Martin Ventures’ executive director and general manager.

Boeing revealed some of its own plans around reconfiguring its satellite construction business to focus on nanosat construction at costs that undercut their current full-scale offerings by a significant margin. This has also been a hotbed for startups looking for a way to get involved in the booming commercial space business with relatively low startup costs, so it makes sense that legacy industry leaders like Lockheed would be looking for opportunities to shore up its own capabilities here.