Lockheed Martin accelerates UK space strategy

Posted on 1 March, 2022 by Advance 

Lockheed Martin is looking for North East businesses and skills organisations to support its plans to develop a bold new future for the UK's space sector.


Lockheed Martin's satellites operate like smartphones in the sky.
Courtesy Lockheed Martin

Senior executives from the company are in Newcastle today to explore options for its space business, which could potentially include manufacturing as well as research and development based in the North East.

Nik Smith, Lockheed Martin's UK and Europe regional director for Space, said that with favourable market conditions and the Government's ambition to grow the sector, the company is exploring options for a new facility in the North East which could create up to 2,300 jobs. It would play a critical role in supporting the Government's Levelling Up agenda and accelerate the UK's National and Defence Space Strategies by increasing the space and security capabilities available to government, commercial customers and the export market. Such a facility would represent an investment of over £50 million.

"We are committed to making the UK one of the most prosperous and capable space sectors in the world. With its strong manufacturing heritage, highly-skilled workforce and reputation for quality, we've identified North East England as a strong contender for our future operations, potentially creating new high-technology engineering and manufacturing jobs for the region," Smith said.

Lockheed Martin is already active in the UK's space sector. It is currently in partnership with the UK Space Agency and SaxaVord Space Centre in the Shetlands, to conduct northern Europe's first vertical satellite launch. This is expected to create hundreds of jobs and inject millions of pounds into the Shetland Islands economy.

The company is also a founding member of the UK's new national space team, Athena, which includes Serco, Inmarsat and CGI UK, who each are world leaders in providing technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses, and other organisations. Athena is committed to using its expertise and global presence to grow the UK's space sector.

Paul Livingston, the company's UK chief executive, said: "With operations in the UK for over 80 years, Lockheed Martin has a proud track record of supporting the UK economy and today has people based at 23 locations.

"From postal sorting technology to helping build the UK's first commercial spaceport, our innovations and partnerships help solve some of the UK's most complex challenges. We invest on average £1.8 billion in the UK each year. Increasing our investments is a key tenant of our global growth strategy and will enable us to partner with the government as it looks to achieve its vision of making the UK one of the most attractive and innovative space sectors in the world."

Globally, Lockheed Martin is one of the world's biggest space businesses. It has been involved in all 22 NASA missions to Mars and has partnered with the agency to explore every planet in our solar system. Today the company is driving innovations to help its customers do even more in orbit.

This includes designing smarter satellites that operate like smartphones in the sky, with apps that can be updated in orbit so they can adapt as mission needs on the ground change and developing the first ever free flying commercial space station, known as Starlab, in partnership with Nanoracks and Voyager Space.