WASHINGTON — L3Harris is making a strategic investment in laser communications company Mynaric with plans to make increased use of that technology for space and other applications.

The companies announced July 5 that L3Harris will invest 11.2 million euros ($11.4 million) into Mynaric, taking a 7.2% stake in the Munich-based company. L3Harris, which uses Mynaric’s HAWK terminals for airborne laser communications, said it would expand its use of Mynaric systems for other applications, including space.

“Laser communications is rapidly proliferating as a technological pillar for joint all-domain command and control capabilities across space, air, maritime, and terrestrial domains,” said Daniel Gittsovich, vice president of corporate strategy and development at L3Harris, in a statement. “Mynaric will be an excellent partner to rapidly address our customers’ needs for high-bandwidth and secure connectivity.”

As part of the investment, Mynaric will become the “preferred provider” of laser communications systems for L3Harris. The two companies will also collaborate on such technologies, including access to labs and testbeds Mynaric created to emulate laser communications between space and the ground.

That testing could extend to space itself. Mynaric announced in May an agreement with Airbus U.S. Space and Defense to install a CONDOR Mark 2 laser terminal on the Bartolomeo external payload rack that Airbus operates on the International Space Station. That terminal, to be delivered to the station this fall, will be used to test laser communications.

“L3Harris is an excellent partner to further accelerate the scale deployments of our industrialized laser communication products across multiple market segments and we look forward to deepening our relationship going forward,” Bulent Altan, chief executive of Mynaric, said in the statement about the deal.

Mynaric has been working with other companies to demonstrate space laser communications. Northrop Grumman selected Mynaric as a “strategic supplier” of such systems in November 2021 and announced June 14 a ground test of optical communications using a Mynaric terminal. Northrop plans to use the technology for intersatellite links on the spacecraft it is building for the Space Development Agency’s Transport Layer Tranche 1 communications network.

Mynaric trades on both Germany’s Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq in the United States. It started trading on the Nasdaq last November, and closed July 5, before the L3Harris deal was announced, near its low at $6.63 per share. On the Frankfurt exchange, where the company’s shares had fallen by more than 60% over the last year, shares were up more than 11% in midday trading July 6.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...