Lockheed Martin

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A US aircraft manufacturer, the world's largest military contractor. Its Space Systems Company has built or contributed to major spacecraft. It designed and built the Hubble Space Telescope, provided the eight solar arrays for the International Space Station, and built the Terra, Gravity Probe-B, and IMAGE spacecrafts. The Lockheed company was founded in 1916 by two brothers, Allan and Malcolm Loughead (they later changed the spelling of their name), who had built their first seaplane in 1913, with headquarters in Burbank, California. Lockheed built the Vega plane in 1926 (later used by Amelia Earhart in her solo transatlantic flight), the first fully pressurized aircraft, the XC-35, in 1937, the P-38 Lightning fighter of World War II, and the TriStar passenger plane of the 1960s. It has been heavily involved in space exploration, building nearly 1 000 spacecraft for the military, NASA, and the commercial sector. In the late 1990s, it developed the F-22, an advanced tactical surveillance (ATS) and fighter aircraft. A STOL (short takeoff and landing) type, it combined stealth with unprecedented agility.

The P-38 Lightning shot down more Japanese aircraft than any other US fighter in the Pacific campaign. In 1974, the company was implicated in a scandal with the Japanese government, in which the then premier, Kakuei Tanake, was found guilty of accepting bribes from the Lockheed corporation and forced to resign.

After a merger in 1995 of Lockheed with the Martin Marietta Corporation, the company became Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, the largest defence company in the world.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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