Just a little more than three months ago, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of one of the great technical achievements in the history of the human race.
It was on July 20, 1969 that Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon.
And what could be a better way to celebrate that accomplishment than to follow that up with another lunar mission?
No, we’re not going to land there tomorrow or even next year for that matter. Fact is, the U.S. probably won’t return to the moon for another decade.
So, why am I celebrating already? Fair question. The answer: a storied space pioneer just received a huge order from NASA to build up to 12 Orion spacecraft.
Known as Artemis, the new lunar program could mean at least $4.6 billion in revenue for this aerospace leader, and massive payouts for you.
Why the Artemis Program is One Giant Leap for Aerospace Investors
Now then, we probably shouldn’t think of NASA’s new lunar program as a “return” to the moon. See, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, NASA landed 12 astronauts on the moon before pulling the plug on more missions.
Part of that had to do with global politics. The U.S. had won the Space Race against the former Soviet Union and felt no need to keep repeating the same victory.
By contrast, project Artemis goes way beyond simple landings. This time around, the agency intends to build the infrastructure needed to repeat lunar flights relatively easily.
To handle both robots and humans, the agency plans to construct the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. We’re talking about a space station that will make elliptical, six-day orbits around Earth. The process will give the gateway easy access to the moon.
And the scope of this project tells me that this is a program that Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) can count on for many years to come.
See, the firm has received definite orders for thee Orion spacecraft worth $2.7 billion. In FY 2022, NASA intends to order three more, worth $1.9 billion.
Lockheed says it will build on their prior track record, and economies of scale, to build the next six in the program at a reduced cost. It didn’t forecast the price tag but says it expects to make six more Orions through September 30, 2030.
If we conservatively forecast a 50% cost decline, Lockheed would still save nearly $2 billion on those final six spacecraft for Artemis.
With so much going on here, it’s no wonder Lockheed Martin’s space division should see strong growth in the years ahead. It already generates around $10 billion in yearly sales.
Building on a History of Interplanetary Success
Lockheed Martin Corp.’s renewed moon mission comes on the heels of its amazing work last November exploring Mars.
This firm was responsible for building all three components of NASA’s Insight spacecraft – the cruising stage, the heat-absorbing shell, and the lander itself.
During the Mars mission, the Insight rover covered 301 million miles in a space journey that took seven months. After the craft touched down, it got right to work by beaming a picture of the red planet back to Earth, but that photograph is only the beginning. The robotic craft will spend the next two years gathering and transmitting important data back to Earth.
Doing so will reap insight about the geography and history of Mars. It will help scientists understand the planet’s long-term climate and why water no longer exists there.
To be sure, other rovers have landed on Mars before. However, NASA notes that this is the first time since Mars was formed more than 4.5 billion years ago that it has received a “thorough checkup.”
Equipped with a six-foot robotic arm, the lander uses cutting edge instruments to drill deep beneath the surface. In turn, the arm will deploy a heat flow probe that will burrow 16 feet into the ground. That’s deeper than any instrument that has ever been to Mars.
Clearly that track record speaks volumes about Lockheed’s technical ability and bodes well for its upcoming lunar missions.
More Than Just a Moonshot: Lockheed Keeps its Bases Covered
But there’s more going on here for Lockheed than just space exploration. They are also a first-class maker of satellites.
The orbiting craft that Lockheed produces give us early warnings of severe weather, connect troops on the battlefield, and deliver Global Positioning System (GPS) directions to a billion people worldwide.
Let’s face it, in this advanced world, we’ve come to rely on GPS, and Lockheed Martin is giving this tech a major upgrade.
GPS III will deliver improved safety and signal strength as well as stunning levels of accuracy. The U.S. military is already drawing up plans to take advantage of this pinpoint geo-location technology.
Lockheed Martin has also proven adept at building industry alliances when necessary. It has formed a joint venture with Boeing Co. (BA) called the United Launch Alliance (ULA).
On Aug. 22, a ULA Delta IV rocket launched a GPS III satellite. This was the second Lockheed satellite used in such a mission.
And let’s not forget that Lockheed is a major supplier to the Pentagon. It makes a range of platforms integral to the nation’s air and missile defense systems.
Its most important defense program is the cutting-edge F35 fighter jet. Known as a 5th Generation fighter, this sleek aircraft comes equipped with a host of the firm’s most advanced technologies.
The F35 combines lightning speed and agility with advanced stealth. The program is a powerful punch for Lockheed because it spans the entire Pentagon and is also set up for foreign sales.
Demand is surging. Lockheed expects to go from roughly 90 planes at the end of last year to roughly 130 annually within the next few years.
The company is nothing short of a profit powerhouse. Over the last three years, it has grown its per-share earnings by an average of 22%, meaning they double roughly every 3.2 years.
The stock is already outperforming general trends by a stunning margin. Since the market rebounded last Dec. 24, LMT is up 58.7%. That means it beat the broad market’s gains of 25.6% by 129%.
You can see why I continue to recommend this stellar stock as a play on space exploration, satellite technology, and national defense.
Add it all up and you see why I believe this stock can give your portfolio a huge liftoff.
Cheers and good investing,
PS: This order from NASA isn’t exclusive to Lockheed. You see, an event this significant could create something called a “global shockwave.” What do you think could happen for the companies providing the modules, systems, and some of the advanced technologies for Lockheed to build these spacecraft? That’s a minor example, but I think you see my point. “Global shockwaves” are everywhere, for everything that happens in the world. You have the chance to see how you could profit from them during the Global Shockwave Summit in two days at 1 PM EST. Your spot is reserved, free of charge, and all you need to do is click here to immediately sign up.