Lockheed Martin [LMT] on July 7 said it is establishing a new center in Denver that will focus on developing reconfigurable payloads and advancing existing satellite systems while also reducing costs and accelerating development.
The RF Payload Center of Excellence at its facility in Denver will co-locate development, testing and production, a first for Lockheed Martin, which it said will improve schedule, reduce transportation costs and enhance collaboration between related teams. The company also said the radio frequency center will “reinvent the process of payload development through advanced technology research and streamlined manufacturing,” using its Digital Tapestry to weave together virtual design, 3-D printing and automated assembly, test and inspection.
The digital process allows uses of common products while also helping schedule and reducing costs, the same strategy the company is using at its Optical Payload Center of Excellence in Silicon Valley this year.
“Enabling communications so people can make effective decisions is at the core of what RF systems do,” Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems segment, said in a statement. “Our new facility and network of experts positions us to support these missions at high rates of production. We will also be applying new technology to develop reconfigurable payloads in orbit, creating more capable and affordable RF systems than ever before.”
Lockheed Martin said it has produced 176 types of RF payloads dating back more than 50 years, noting that one or more RF subsystems are in every spacecraft it builds. The new center will also develop technologies that are found in RF payloads such as antennas, arrays, and transmitters for the full spectrum of bandwidth.