The Top 10

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Boeing:

Boeing once again this year beat out all other companies by generating the most space-related revenue of any space manufacturer or service company in the world.

In 2004, Chicago-based Boeing raked in more than $10.3 billion in space-related revenue, up more than 10 percent from last year when they made close to $9.8 billion in space-related revenue.

Boeing’s stock price also rebounded in 2004 from an eight-year low of $24.73 per share during 2003. At the end of the 2004 the stock more than doubled and was hovering at a healthy $52.09 per share. (It was trading last week — the midpoint of 2005 — at more than $66 a share).

The company again was NASA’s largest contractor in 2004. Its Delta 2 launch vehicle completed seven missions in 2004.

Boeing received three orders for satellites from DirecTV. Its Sea Launch venture, in which it is a 40 percent partner, made three launches in 2004.

In September, Boeing announced a 10-year agreement with IBM which allowed it to both compete separately for contracts and use IBM’s technology when necessary for other opportunities.

Lockheed Martin:

Lockheed Martin has consistently stayed in second spot over the years and 2004 was no exception. In 2004, the Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin brought in $9.6 billion in space-related revenue, close to a $1 billion more than the preceding year when they made $8.7 billion.

Approximately 80 percent of Lockheed Martin’s business is with the Department of Defense and other agencies within the U.S. government.

International Launch Services, a joint venture with Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, completed 10 missions, finishing the year with the launch of the AMC-16 satellite.

Lockheed Martin also won a contract to build the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), providing mobile communications for the U.S. Navy.

NASA continued to be a key client for the company, resulting in a variety of contracts including $330 million for design work on the proposed Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. The company also has a contract through 2008 to provide the expendable external tanks used on the space shuttle.

Northrop Grumman:

Northrop Grumman Corp. of Los Angeles rose two spots this year. The jump from fifth place a year ago reflects the first full year of results that include revenue from TRW’s former space business, which Northrop Grumman acquired in 2003. That helped increase space-related gross revenue from $2.8 billion in 2003 to $4.573 billion in 2004.

Northrop Grumman is one of the world’s largest defense contractors and space work accounted for just 11 percent of the company’s revenue overall. Some of its major space programs included the James Webb Space Telescope and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System.

The company also participated in NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers; developing the rovers’ inertial measurement units.

EADS:

The European Aeronautics Defense and Space Company (EADS), the only non-U.S. company in the top five, dropped one spot after being ranked number three last year. In 2004 the dollar value of EADS space-related revenue increased by nearly $500 million. Overall the company made $3.5 billion in 2004 compared to $3.013 billion in 2003.

The European Space Agency commissioned six automated transfer vehicles from EADS for transport of supplies, fuel and other items to the international space station. It awarded contracts for the Lisa pathfinder scientific mission and for the construction of a spectrometer for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

Military space in Europe was a boon for EADS in 2004. Its subsidiary, Paradigm Secure Communications, received contracts to provide satellite-based telecommunications services to the NATO , Portugal and other governments.

EADS Astrium saw the launch of three of its Eurostar 3000 satellite platforms during the year.

Raytheon:

Raytheon Corp. fell one spot, but just barely, coming about $126 million behind EADS, which was helped in these rankings because of the strength of the euro vs. the dollar in 2004. In 2004 Raytheon earned $3.409 billion, about half a billion more than in 2003 when they made $2.978 billion.

Raytheon received some high-profile contracts from the U.S. Navy in 2004, including a contract to provide a satellite communications system for the Navy’s Virginia Class submarines. Raytheon received another contract from the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command to manufacture extremely high frequency satellite communications terminals.

It closed the year with the announcement it would lead an industry team to pursue the Transformational Satellite Communications System Mission Operations System (TMOS), a program valued at about $2 billion; the TMOS contract award is scheduled for late 2005.

United Space Alliance:

United Space Alliance took in slightly more than $2 billion in space sales last year; up from space revenues of $1.68 billion in 2003. It boosted them one spot to sixth place on this year’s list.

The company, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture which maintains and operates NASA’s space shuttle fleet, served as the prime contractor for the preparations for the return to flight of the space shuttle fleet with the launch of Discovery, devoting 6,500 employees to Kennedy Space Center to handle the effort.

In August, 2004 NASA extended the space shuttle operations contract for two years, to Sept. 30, 2006; an extension worth $3.6 billion.

Alcatel Space:

Alcatel Space of Paris moved up to seventh in total space revenue for 2004, after ranking eighth in 2003. The company earned $1.90 billion in space sales, compared with $1.5 billion the year before.

Alcatel built the high-resolution cameras for the Helios 2 A satellite. It merged its space divisions with Italy-based Finmeccanica in 2004 by creating two sister companies.

The company is one of Europe’s major suppliers of telecommunication satellites, high resolution viewing systems, and meteorological, navigation and Earth observation systems.

With its space-related revenue dropping in 2004 San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp. ranked eighth this year, after earning the sixth spot a year ago. Space revenues fell from $1.75 billion to $1.70 billion.

SAIC:

In August, SAIC announced its acquisition of Trios Associates Inc., which develops surveillance and communications systems for the U.S. government.

In February 2004, SAIC announced it would lead a consortium of companies in defining a missile defense strategy for NATO , a contract valued at $18 million over 18 months. SAIC is also a major player on the U.S. Army’s Future Combat System, aiming to have a prototype ready in 2007.

The company provides safety support for NASA. It is among the firms that received around $1 million to spend a year developing concepts for lunar exploration. It also received a five-year, $826.1 million contract from NASA to provide information technology management support to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

ATK:

Aerospace and defense company ATK, based in Edina, MN, rose one spot to ninth on this year’s list.

ATK earned $1.2 billion in space-related revenue for 2004 compared to $1.13 billion in 2003, as estimated by Space News.

ATK completed its $165 million acquisition of PSI Group, a satellite component maker in September.

The company also built NASA’s third X-43A vehicle, which set a record speed of about Mach 10 (11,265 km per hour) when it flew last November.

Hughes Network Systems:

Hughes Network Systems, based in Germantown, Md., was still part of DirecTV Group in 2004 when it pulled in $1.10 billion in space revenue according to financial statements filed by DirecTV Group. That earned the company the 10th spot on this year’s list compared with last year’s ninth slot. The company earned $1.27 billion in 2003.

I n September of 2004, HNS and GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va. announced an agreement to provide the company’s DIRECWAY broadband satellite products and services to government agencies.

At the beginning of 2005, though, HNS was hit with a $5 million fine for violating U.S. export control regulations, and was prohibited from selling equipment until May.

It is now jointly owned by the DirecTV Group and SkyTerra Communications, Inc., an affiliate of Apollo Management, L.P., a New York-based private equity firm.