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Lockheed eyeing South

The Associated Press

DENVER — Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. is talking with Alabama about moving its Colorado operations there.

The Friday report said the company also may be considering moving to Florida, but a move to either state doesn’t appear imminent.

Tim Huddleston, director of Alabama’s Aerospace Development Center, a state agency, said that he has talked to Lockheed Martin officials and that he reported to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley the company seems ready to move.

His message to the governor: Lockheed Martin may be primed for wanting to locate a facility in Alabama.

“I got a better-than-average indication that there’s an opportunity,” said Huddleston, who approached Lockheed.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems, based in Jefferson County, employs about 5,500 people. It manufactures rockets, NASA and government spy satellites, and ground-based systems, including tracking systems. The company also is involved in the design of NASA’s next-generation space shuttle.

More than 1,000 employees, meanwhile, are involved in building rockets used to loft commercial and military satellites into space.

A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman didn’t rule out the possibility that a relocation could occur.

“You’re always open to opportunities that would present the right business case both in the state or beyond,” said Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Joan Underwood.

She said the company is approached often about the possibility of moving, adding, “It would take a significant business case to warrant messing with the recipe of success that Lockheed Martin has had here for decades.”