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20 Things You Didn't Know about Terran Orbital


Space exploration requires the implementation of a variety of methods and tools in order to accomplish its objectives. One of those tools is the emergence of the small satellite. It has been noted, that using small satellites is not only cost effective, but provides researchers with rapid results with the least amount of work expended. The Terran Orbital Corporation is the top provider of small satellites in the country. Trusted by intelligence organizations, the military and business, Terran has upped the ante when it comes to the advancement of space exploration. Currently, Terran Orbital is in the process of creating the largest and most advanced Earth Observation Constellation.

1. Terran Orbital Broadens its Sphere of Influence in California

Terran's plans for California include expanding its engineering, research, satellite design and development. This will then lead to an increase in hiring, all of which will be good for the company and surrounding community. According to Marc Bell, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, “Terran Orbital is rapidly expanding its operations to support the growing need for our services. The new space will significantly increase our operational efficiency and permit us to continue to expand our workforce at a rapidly accelerating pace while also allowing us to expand our manufacturing capacity at our current location.”

2. Terran Orbital to Invest $300 Million in Florida

Terran Orbital is planning on investing $300 Million into the state of Florida with the purpose of constructing a commercial space flight facility. This facility is projected to be 660,000 square feet--the largest in the world. In September of 2021, Florida governor Ron DeSantis stated, “I am excited to announce that Terran Orbital will be investing $300 million in the Space Coast to build the largest satellite manufacturing facility in the world. ”

3. Tyvak International is a Terran Orbital Company

Tyvak International is a Terran Orbital Company. Their purpose is to make space missions more accessible for both private and public enterprises. Indeed, they're all about making your particular mission a success. Whether your needs involve the development of spacecraft designs, providing launch services or missions involving satellites, you can depend on Tyvak International to provide you with excellence in development and design. Past missions include: TYVAK-0129, NANOACE, CICERO, among others.

4. Terran Orbital Partners with ImageSat

On May 26, 2021, Terran Orbital joined ImageSat International on a project involving the design, build and launch of Chilean satellites. Defense Minister Baldo Prokurica shared the eager anticipation for Chili's move into the space age, “Today is a particularly important day, because Chile is embarking on a new era for space. We are announcing the implementation of a National Satellite System (SNSat) that will consist of ten satellites, eight of which will be built in Chile. The satellites will make a significant contribution to Chile’s scientific and technological development, to national defense and to civil society..."

5. Lockheed Martin Partners with Terran Orbital

In September 2020, it was announced that Lockheed Martin joined forces with Terran Orbital for a Space Development Agency, or SDA Contract. The SDA contract is worth $188 Million and will employ Tyvak's Mavericks platform. As for the satellites, Lockhhed will construct 10 which will use Tyvak's Nano-Satellite Systems. According to Eric Brown, Lockheed Martin's director of military space mission strategy, that "we got a very strong offer from Tyvak. We are designing for production, to generate volume."

6. The Tyvak-0172 Satellite Launched by SpaceX

Back in August of 2020 SpaceX's Falcon 9 was involved in the SAOCOM 1B mission. This mission involved launching the SAOCOM 1B spacecraft into orbit carrying the Tyvak-0172 payload from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. SAOCOM, which stands for Satellite Agentino de Observacion COn Microondas is a radar observation satellite from Argentina.

7. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Joins Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems

Both the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems have joined forces with both agreeing to a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to craft dependable and reliable telescopes for nanosatellites. This agreement between the two is for four years, $2 million. Great success with the project is to be expected due to the strategic blending of LLNL's Monolithic Telescope tech or MonoTele, and Tyvak's spacecraft design. Besides the spacecraft, Tyvak's contribution will include, a payload made up of electronics, and sensors.

8. Tyvak International Announced FSSCat Mission Launch

In September of 2020, Tyvak International, a Terran Orbital company, experienced a successful launch of the FSSCat or Federated Satellite Systems on 3Cat. The launch was successful, the orbit went well and without issue. The FSSCat mission utilizes two small, shoebox-sized CubeSats. These CubeSats are designed to collect much needed data.

9. Terran Orbital Teams Up with Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp

Tailwind Two Acquisition Corporation joins up with Terran Orbital. The transaction between the two is said to be worth $1.58 billion. According to Philip Krim, Chairman of Tailwind Two, “Terran Orbital offers an outstanding solution to address the increasing demand for cost-effective data that is only available from space. Tens of thousands of small satellites will be launched over the next decade, and Terran Orbital is ideally positioned to meet this demand, offering the most innovative, cost-effective small satellites that can meet the data demands for governments and corporations. Similarly, Terran Orbital’s own earth observation constellation will make the most technologically advanced data about our planet commercially available, which will unlock new markets for data and insights across industries.” The SPAC deal is projected to close during the first quarter of 2022, and will list publicly as LLAP on the New York Stock Exchange.

10. Tyvak-0129 and the Pony Express 1 Mission

Tyvak-0129 is a next gen spacecraft designed and developed by Terran Orbital company, Tyvak International. In 2020, the Tyvak-0129's payload included the Pony Express 1 mission. According to Rick Ambrose, executive VP of Lockheed Martin Space, "Early on-orbit data show Pony Express 1 is performing its important pathfinding mission very well. Lockheed Martin's HiveStar™ technology on board will give our customers unparalleled speed, resiliency and flexibility for their changing mission needs by unlocking even greater processing power in space. This is the first of several rapid, self-funded experiments demonstrating our ability to systematically accelerate our customers' speed to mission while reducing risk from new technologies."

11. The Artemis Program Teams Up with Terran Orbital

The objective of the Artemis Program is to get humanity to the moon. Started in 2017, NASA teamed up with the European Space Agency, along with private contractors to get the mission off the ground. Among those private contractors is Terran Orbital. According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, “American aerospace companies of all sizes are joining the Artemis program. Expanding the group of companies who are eligible to bid on sending payloads to the Moon’s surface drives innovation and reduces costs to NASA and American taxpayers. We anticipate opportunities to deliver a wide range of science and technology payloads to help make our vision for lunar exploration a reality and advance our goal of sending humans to explore Mars.” Terran Orbital joins the ranks of other private space contractors such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Ceres Robotics, Sierra Nevada Corp, and Tyvak International which is a company operated by Terran Orbital.

12. Terran Orbital designed and developed Lockheed Martin's First Smart Satellite

In 2019, Lockheed Martin stated that they were involved in the development of next gen space tech. This new space tech is designed to allow satellites to alter their mission goals while in orbit, smart satellites if you will. This technology is known as SmartSat. Executive VP of Lockheed Martin Space, Richard Ambrose stated, "Imagine a new type of satellite that acts more like a smartphone. Add a SmartSat app to your satellite in-orbit, and you've changed the mission. We are the first to deploy this groundbreaking technology on multiple missions. SmartSat will give our customers unparalleled resiliency and flexibility for changing mission needs and technology, and it unlocks even greater processing power in space." Terran Orbital was called upon to assist and designed the LM 50 bus for the mission.

13. EchoStar Sought Out Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems for Satellites

In 2019, EchoStar sought out the services of Terran Orbital company, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems with the purpose of ordering two small S-band satellites, with the option for a third satellite. In June 2021, EchoStar launched a Tyvak satellite via a SpaceX rocket in a flight referenced as Transporter-2. The purpose of the EchoStar launch is for these small satellites to enable cell phone users to move from urban areas to rural areas without losing connection, as the connection will automatically be transferred to satellite and not miss a beat.

14. Terran Orbital Recieved Funds From NASA

In 2020, NASA awarded Terran Orbital a slice of its $6 billion Rapid IV Contract for Spacecraft Systems and Services. Terran Orbital was one of five firms, Ball Serospace and Technologies, Southwest Research Institute, Space Systems/Loral LLC, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, and Orbital Sciences Corp, awarded contracts.

15. Tyvak International's MILANI to Assist in ESA's HERA Mission

Tyvak International's 6U satellite, MILANI, has proven to be effective and was chosen to assist in the European Space Agency's HERA Mission. Developed specifically for the ESA's HERA mission by Tyvak, MILANI honors the Italian mathematician/astronomer Andrea Milani. The mission is set to launch in 2024, with the MILANI taken into space by the HERA spacecraft into the Didymos asteroid system. Once in the system, it's currently projected that MILANI will reach the asteroids in 2027 to complete its objectives. Ian Carnelli, HERA's ESA Project Manager, stated, “We are extremely excited by the advance of the Milani project, on a very fast track to asteroid Didymos. We congratulate the whole team at Tyvak and their international partners for the excellent work and we look very much forward to move into phase C."

16. Tyvak Internatonal Designed and Developed the CAPSTONE Satellite

Tyvak International was called upon to design and build the spacecraft bus for CAPSTONE, or Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment. CAPSTONE is to follow the Lunar Gateway's orbit. Originally set to launch from Virginia, it is now set to launch from New Zealand via Rocket Lab. As Peter Beck, Chief Executive at Rocket Lab explains, “Flexible isn’t a word usually used to describe lunar missions but operating two launch complexes gives us the freedom to select a site that best meets mission requirements and schedule."

17. GapSat Contacts Terran Orbital for a SmallSat Order

GapSat has made the decision to enter the satellite market with its very own satellite, the GapSat-1. Terran Orbital will be the designer and developer of the GapSat-1, an electric geostationary satellite. GapSat Chief Executive Officer, Gregg Daffner stated that, “We have been working on developing our own satellites for several years and it is terrific to have finally found a credible partner to execute on a technical solution that meets our business objectives. Terran Orbital showed a unique business approach defining a highly flexible, reconfigurable satellite at a cost that closes our business case and will provide our customers with the tailored capacity they need.”

18. PredaSAR introduces the Public to retired Army Lieutenant General David Mann

PredaSAR Corporation, part of Terran Orbital is constructing the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite constellation. On November 16, 2020, PredaSAR made public the decision to name retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General David Mann as their VP. Mann will handle DoD, Army, and government issues as they unfold. PredaSAR Executive Chairman Marc Bell stated, “We are excited to welcome Lt. Gen Mann, another trusted and highly respected senior leader to join our growing company. He not only brings a wealth of experience with his first-hand knowledge and understanding of the critical needs of the Department of Defense but will play a pivotal role to help shape our growth strategy and unique product offerings to best serve our clients. We are excited to work together to deliver compelling radar products and services.”

19. Terran Orbital Teams up with SpaceX for First SAR Launch

PredaSAR Corporation made public the decision to launch the first of 48 SAR satellites on Falcon 9. PredaSAR, SpaceX and Tyvak will be on this project and watching its development closely. Whatever they learn from this first launch will be applied to the launch of the rest of the constellation of 48. As PredaSAR CEO Major General Roger Teague, USAF stated, “PredaSAR spacecraft possess the latest in space-proven, high quality satellite systems to support scalable and fully capable operations. PredaSAR aims to deliver critical insights and data products to both military and commercial decision makers at the speed of need. We are pleased to fly with SpaceX, a proven launch service provider to further enable the PredaSAR constellation vision of rapid, persistent ISR, anytime and anywhere.”

20. NASA Will Use the Tyvak LunIR to Check Out the Surface of the Moon

The Artemis Program refers to NASA's upcoming moon mission. In doing so, they believe that using small satellites, like those crafted by Terran Orbital, are the key to gaining knowledge regarding the moons surface. Some of LunIR's responsibilities will include scoping for possible landing sites and searching for signs of water. As LunIR is a small satellite, data will be gathered via flyby's. Described as having the size of a shoebox, this little marvel built by Tyvak NanoSatellite Systems, will prove to be a cost effective method of trailblazing the final frontier of space.

Final Thoughts

The world is changing and doing so in lightning speed. One of the threads that help keep this speedy growth stable, are satellites. Terran Orbital is seen as a leader in the research and development of small satellites, and currently supplies small satellites to businesses, military, and the intelligence organizations. Indeed, small satellites are seen as the key in future space endeavors. Their future looks as bright, as Terran Orbital plans on creating yet another new business, an SaaS or Satellites-as-a-Service, launching the largest constellation yet.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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