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ABL Space Systems Lands 58-Launch Deal from Lockheed Martin

By Rachel Jewett | April 5, 2021

RS1 rocket acceptance testing. Photo: ABL Space Systems

Lockheed Martin has purchased a block of launches on ABL Space Systems RS1 rocket of up to 26 vehicles through 2025, and up to 32 additional launches through 2029. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the April 5 announcement. 

ABL Space Systems, based in El Segundo, California, just closed a $170 million Series B funding round last week, at a $1.3 billion valuation. The company is developing the RS1 launch vehicle and GS0 deployable launch system, a containerized system that is designed to provide rapid launch from new launch sites in the U.S. and around the world. RS1 is capable of delivering up to 2,976 lbs to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).

Lockheed Martin said it benefits from ABL’s lower-cost launch vehicle by “accelerating risk reduction with demonstration missions, which lay the groundwork for future large efforts,” and provides ABL with a stable launch manifest.  

This deal deepens Lockheed Martin’s relationship with ABL. Lockheed Martin has been a strategic investor in the venture since 2019, and recently selected ABL Space Systems to supply a rocket and launch services to launch from the United Kingdom through the UK Pathfinder Launch program

“This long-term agreement with ABL solidifies our strategic partnership for the future,” commented Rick Ambrose, executive vice president at Lockheed Martin Space. “Having this assured access to space will accelerate our ability to demonstrate the spacecraft and associated payload technologies we are developing to the meet the future mission needs for our customers.”