Satellite manufacturer Terran Orbital to go public in $1.58B SPAC merger

Terran Orbital, a leading manufacturer of small satellites, is going public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp. The deal has a post-transaction enterprise value of $1.58 billion and will furnish the company with around $470 million.

Of those funds, $345 million will come from Tailwind Two’s contribution, plus $50 million PIPE provided by AE Industrial Partners, Beach Point Capital, Daniel Staton, Lockheed Martin and Fuel Venture Capital. An additional $75 million has been committed by Francisco Partners and Beach Point Capital, and the company may have access to up to $125 million in debt commitments from Francisco Partners and Lockheed Martin at the close of the transaction.

Terran’s announcement is a reflection that space startups are still looking to SPAC mergers as a way to raise cash and go public. Deals with blank-check firms have become a popular route to the public markets in the space industry; Virgin Orbit, Planet, Redwire, BlackSky, Spire Global, Satellogic, Rocket Lab, Momentus and Astra are among the space companies that have raised billions through this financial vehicle.

Terran Orbital is a contract manufacturer, designing, building and engineering satellites primarily for the U.S. government. Around 95% of Terran’s work is related to NASA and the Department of Defense, CEO Marc Bell told TechCrunch in an interview earlier this year.

The company will be opening the world’s largest space vehicle manufacturing facility on Florida’s Space Coast at an investment of $300 million, it announced in September. The 660,000-square-foot facility will have the capacity to manufacture 1,000 complete satellites and over 1 million satellite components per year — a volume unheard of in the space industry.

In addition to manufacturing satellites, Terran Orbital also aims to operate its own earth observation constellation and deliver satellite imagery as a service. In a statement, Bell called it the new SaaS: “satellites as a service.”

The transaction, which has already received unanimous approval by both Terran Orbital and and Tailwind Two’s boards of directors, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.