Fairchild Industries Inc. announced a partial reorganization yesterday in an effort to position itself better for expected growth in space activity and in communications and electronics.

The Germantown, Md.-based company said it is dividing its Space and Electronics Co. as of Jan. 1 into two divisions -- Fairchild Space Co. and Fairchild Communications and Electronics Co.

Emanuel Fthenakis, Fairchild senior vice president, said the businesses of the current single division have grown rapidly and are expected to continue to expand at a vigorous pace.

John W. Townsend Jr., a Fairchild corporate vice president and president of the existing company to be split, will become president of the space division. One of the programs that will fall under his purview is Leasecraft, under which Fairchild would provide customers with an orbiting platform for earth observation and experimentation, materials processing and other zero-gravity activities. An outgrowth of the multimission modular spacecraft -- the space bus program -- Leasecraft is considered by Fairchild to be one of the more promising long-range developments in its space-related business.

The new Communications and Electronics division will be headed by Harold Gruen, who recently joined Fairchild from Aydin Corp., where he was president of its Vector division.

Fairchild said Gruen's division will concentrate on the expanding commercial communications markets involving satellite earth station construction and components and data communications for military aircraft. The division's goal is to achieve greater balance between military and commercial product lines, now heavily tilted toward the military, the company said.