Lockheed Martin announced Thursday it has renamed its 50-year-old space technology innovation shop “STAR Labs,” an acronym for Space Technology Advanced Research and Development Laboratories. Company spokesman Mark Lewis said the shop “is to space what Skunkworks is to aviation.” In a May 8 release, STAR Labs Vice President Kenneth Washington said the name change “sharpens our focus on the mission we’ve been proud to pursue for 50 years; shaping the future of our country’s space programs.” The main site is in Palo Alto, Calif., but there are facilities elsewhere in California, as well as in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Virginia. S.T.A.R. Labs also happens to be the name of a fictitious high-tech company routinely appearing in “Superman” and DC comics, an acronym for “Science and Technology Advanced Research Laboratories.” Lewis said Lockheed didn’t pay any royalties for the name, but did “due diligence” in researching whether it was in use by any active, real companies in the aerospace industry. The comic book S.T.A.R. Labs is a competitor to LexCorp, operated by Superman’s corporate techno-villain nemesis, Lex Luthor.
As the Air National Guard moves forward with its plans to replace aging C-130Hs with new C-130Js, it has decided where it wants to base its formal training unit for the new aircraft—Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.