Lockheed purchased a 275 acre tract of land near Moffett Airfield in Sunnyvale for their sprawling space and missile research campus. By 1956 Lockheed employed nearly 8,600 people and expanded their campus by another 154 acres. By 1960, Lockheed employed 20,000 people, many of whom lived in Sunnyvale and worked at the facility.
The company focused on two main programs. First, Lockheed's experiments with solid-rocket-propelled vehicles caught the attention of the Navy, which was undertaking a program to develop sea-based intermediate-range ballistic missiles known as Polaris. A two-year contract between Lockheed and the Navy led to the creation of new rocket engines and computer guidance systems.
The second program focused on space systems. Under a secret program known as Coronoa, a reconnaissance satellite program, Lockeed contracted with the CIA and the Air Force to build satellites and control systems. The contract resulted in the creation of the Thor rocket booster and the Lockeed Agena spacecraft, designed for taking satellite photographs.
Sales revenues for Lockeed in 1957 was $879 million, but those figures jumped to $1.45 billion by 1961. Missiles and space components had become the majority of Lockheed's business, amounting to $735 million of company revenues.