Aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) got a one-year contract extension valued at $22 million from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (:NASA). Per the extension, Lockheed will continue to support cargo delivery to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
The Cargo Mission Contract 2 will start from April 1, This is the first of four options of the original contract awarded in Dec 2010.
ISS is a center for ongoing space research and scientific experiments. Astronauts living in space stations need ground support to sustain and carry out scientific work. Per the contract modification, Lockheed will look to buying, maintaining and preparing items for the ISS crew such as clothing, housekeeping and personal hygiene items, laptop computers and audio and visual equipment.
Lockheed was already looking after planning, coordination, preparation and packing of standardized containers for cargo delivery to and from the ISS. Per the Cargo Mission Contract, Lockheed is managing and storing more than 3 million items for the ISS crew.
Lockheed by virtue of its expertise and technical knowhow provides affordable and suitable solutions for the ISS. Indeed, the company has a long history of effectively supporting space missions – cargo handling forms an integral part of these missions.
There is a buzz in the space industry about a possible future for the space tourism business. Quite a few companies are working on different models and are planning to begin space tourism before the end of this decade. Lockheed with its experience and expertise in efficiently handling the ISS cargo is likely to play a significant role in the space tourism industry once it gets going.
Lockheed currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other players in the aerospace and defense industry, which look attractive at current levels, include Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII), Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Inc. (WAIR) and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC). Huntington Ingalls and Wesco Aircraft carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Northrop holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).