Miami Tech & Startup News

South Florida satellite maker Terran Orbital to go public via $1.58B SPAC deal

South Florida satellite maker Terran Orbital to go public via $1.58B SPAC deal

Boca Raton-based satellite manufacturer Terran Orbital is merging with a special-purpose acquisition company to go public at a $1.58 billion valuation.

Founded in 2013, Terran Orbital is a pioneer in the development, innovation and operation of small satellites and earth observation solutions. Its customers include NASA, the U.S. Defense Department, and satellite and internet communications provider EchoStar, among others. Terran, through its unit PredaSAR,  is developing its own constellation of low-Earth-orbit satellites that could do things like monitor conflict zones for the military or track vessels for big shipping companies. It plans to launch the constellation next year.

“Terran Orbital is the largest independently-owned manufacturer of small satellites in the United States, serving national interests and enabling our customers to leverage the strength of our platform and insights. With our high volume, innovative manufacturing of small satellites, we will be able to deliver emerging technologies to space faster, more affordably and with greater reliability than anyone,” said Marc Bell, co-founder and CEO of Terran Orbital, in a statement. 

“Fundamentally, we are creating the new SaaS, Satellites-as-a-Service,.” he said. And that’s not all.

Terran’s earth observation constellation will deliver images of any geography on earth, at any time of day or night, within minutes, he said. “This capability will unlock a high-growth, high-margin data-as-a-service business model that will be truly transformational for Terran Orbital, its customers and investors.” .

Terran has entered into a business combination agreement with Tailwind Two Acquisition Corp., a SPAC led by Casper Sleep’s CEO Philip Krim.  Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will operate as Terran Orbital, with plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol LLAP. The  transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

The merger will give Terran access to about $345 million held by the SPAC, as well as $125 million in additional funds from investors including Lockheed Martin and Miami-based Fuel Venture Capital. Bell said the money would be used to expand Terran’s two manufacturing plants in California while it builds a far bigger facility in Cape Canaveral over the next three years. Post merger, the company plans to continue to be based in Florida.

It was just one month ago when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, together with Space Florida, the economic development agency, and Terran Orbital announced that the space company would be developing the “world’s largest and most advanced space vehicle manufacturing facility” on the Space Coast. The $300 million, 660,000-square-foot facility will be able to to produce more than 1,000 satellites annually. The expansion will create about 2,100 jobs averaging $84K a year by the end of 2025, the company said last month.

The deal also brings the first exit for Miami-based Fuel Venture Capital, which led the $25 million seed round for PredaSAR two years ago.

“We are proud to have been part of PredaSAR and now Terran Orbital’s journey into space: The Final Frontier. Their vision and business model align exactly with Fuel’s intent to support entrepreneurs with groundbreaking ideas propelled by exponential technologies that have the potential to change the world,” said Jeff Ransdell, Managing Director and Founding Partner of Fuel Venture Capital, via an email.

“It’s a momentous event for Fuel Venture Capital, for South Florida and for Fuel investors who have entrusted us with their capital.  For a company to be listed on the NYSE is a big deal,” Randsdell continued. “It’s clearly another example of Miami and its evolution in becoming a major player in the tech ecosystem worldwide.  And we are extremely proud to be a part of that.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter and email her at [email protected]

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