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Small-Satellite Maker Tyvak Adding Jobs, Working Space

Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc., the Irvine-based aerospace company that has already launched more than 220 small satellites into orbit, is planning a major expansion as the demand for its type of spacecraft increases.

“We will be dramatically expanding our footprint in Orange County—in Irvine,” said Marc Bell, chief executive and chairman of parent company Terran Orbital Corp.  

“We’re going to be expanding our manufacturing facilities, we’re going to be expanding our staff.”

Tyvak, located along Barranca Parkway in the Spectrum area of the city, counted 127 employees as of August of last year, according to the most recently available figures. The firm ranks No. 19 among the largest OC aerospace and defense contractors by employee count.

Heavy Hitter

Earlier this month, Tyvak said that it hired retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Christian “Boris” Becker as chief executive officer.

Becker brings more than 33 years of leadership in the Navy and Department of Defense to his new role, and an extensive knowledge of global satellite and communication networks.  “His appointment reinforces Tyvak’s commitment to provide a full suite of satellite solutions to our customers in the U.S. and across the globe,” according to Bell.

Becker most recently served as the chief executive of the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, where he led an 11,000-person global organization responsible for the design, delivery and supporting logistics of the U.S. Navy’s global satellite and communications networks and enterprise-wide business systems.  

Succeeds Previte

Becker succeeds Anthony Previte, who will be taking on new duties at the parent company, Bell said. The two executives are co-founders of Terran.

Bell told the Business Journal on May 14 that more changes will be announced soon, including “a lot more space” and “a lot more people.”

“We’re not moving, we’re just adding more,” according to Bell.

Tyvak has mix of government, commercial and defense clients, providing “a full suite of satellite solutions to our customers in the U.S. and across the globe.”

“We’ll still be specializing in small satellites of all different kinds, continuing what we’ve been working on.

“Nothing’s changing except the size, scope and volume of what we’re doing.”

He added: “We’re going to be building even larger satellites.

“Our volume is increasing dramatically, and we will be adding staff to deal with that volume, and we will be adding space to deal with that volume.”

Rocket Lab, SpaceX

Tyvak uses Vega, Rocket Lab and Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch its satellites, Tyvak’s least costly satellites run about $500,000 while the most expensive is in the tens of millions of dollars.

In a recent launch, a SpaceX Falcon 9 on May 15 sent a Tyvak-0130 satellite into orbit, with the payload based on “innovative optical telescopes,” the company said. Reports indicated the payload was a miniature space telescope for potential commercial use.

Tyvak is producing synthetic aperture radar satellites that can see through clouds and darkness in cooperation with PredaSAR, which is also owned by Terran Orbital. Other projects include working with Australia-based mini-satellite company Myriota.

NASA and the Department of Defense are listed among Tyvak’s customers.

Another small-satellite company Iceye U.S., whose parent is headquartered in Finland, opened a production facility in Irvine in March, with dozens of employees expected to be working there by the end of year. 

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Kevin Costelloe
Kevin Costelloe
Tech reporter at Orange County Business Journal

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