Lockheed doubles its bet on the lunar economy with its new subsidiary Crescent Space Services
Lockheed Martin today announced the creation of a wholly-owned subsidiary called Crescent Space Services that will focus on infrastructure for the moon, the latest sign that the aerospace and defense giant is optimistic about the future of a lunar economy.
The new venture will initially focus on a cislunar-orbit communications and navigation network called Parsec. The Parsec network will be owned and operated by Crescent, with Lockheed designing and building the spacecraft. The first satellite is set to launch in 2025, scheduled to arrive in cislunar orbit ahead of NASA’s third Artemis mission, which will land humans on the moon.
Lockheed installed Joe Landon as the company’s new CEO. Landon was previously vice president of advanced program development at Lockheed Martin Space, where he led strategy and business development for the company’s commercial space projects. Prior to that, he was chief financial officer of asteroid mining company Planetary Resources.
Crescent was born out of shifting customer demand, Landon told TechCrunch. Over the past decade, customers – primarily NASA – have begun to shift from buying things, like spacecraft, to buying capabilities.
“It created a new opportunity for Lockheed where we had to adapt,” he said. “Lockheed Martin is traditionally a developer of technologies and a manufacturer of very good systems. But what we needed and what the market is really asking for is service.
While Crescent is starting with the Parsec network, the company intends to expand over time by providing other infrastructure services, such as electricity and mobility. These services will likely benefit from Lockheed’s existing programs, such as its autonomous lunar rover in development with General Motor, and its initiatives on solar systems in space.
Interest in a lunar economy has skyrocketed in recent years. NASA has been a major driver of this interest, doling out major contracts to companies like SpaceX, Astrobotic and others for services ranging from launch to delivering payloads to the lunar surface. But while government initiatives are leading the charge, private markets are not far behind: in a report released last year, McKinsey & Co found that the share of private investment in the space economy that is focused on initiatives “ lunar and beyond” has continued to increase. , accounting for 10-15% of total private investment in space-related businesses.
Crescent is trying to get ahead of this booming market, Landon said. Once all the infrastructure elements are in place, the company can even think about services in space beyond lunar orbit.
“Once we are settled on the moon, we can go beyond the moon,” he said. “If the market needs communications around Mars, for example, we would be really prepared to provide that as well.”