WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin will acquire the assets of Astrotech Space Operations, which specializes in prelaunch processing of satellites, in a deal expected to close during the third quarter of 2014, Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin announced May 29.

Astrotech is a longtime provider of prelaunch services including satellite fueling, testing, encapsulation and day-of-launch services. The company has supported more than 300 missions since its founding in 1981, Lockheed Martin said.

The purchase price is $61 million, according to Astrotech. Lockheed Martin’s press release did not mention the price but said the terms “are not material” to the company.

Astrotech is headquartered in Titusville, Florida, which is near Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and also has facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The deal is subject to Astrotech shareholder approval, the Lockheed Martin press release said. Once the transaction closes, Astrotech will become part of Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

“Astrotech Space Operations’ expertise in the final stages of launch preparation complements our existing capabilities in satellite design, production and integration,” Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Marillyn Hewson said in a prepared statement. “This new capability expands our Space Systems services portfolio and enhances the value we offer to current and future Lockheed Martin and Astrotech customers.”

Warren Ferster is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews and is responsible for all the news and editorial coverage in the weekly newspaper, the spacenews.com Web site and variety of specialty publications such as show dailies. He manages a staff of seven reporters...