Lockheed Martin advances multi-role satellite into production
The global defence prime has accelerated its first LM 400 flexible, mid-sized satellite into production, ahead of a planned launch date later in 2023.
The military, civil or commercial use satellite can be used to support multiple missions such as remote sensing, communications, imaging, radar and persistent surveillance.
The scalable satellite aims to access demand for more proliferated systems, high-rate production and affordable solutions.
Matt Mahlman, director of strategy and capture at Lockheed Martin Space’s Satellite Bus Center of Excellence, said the LM 400 bus can operate in low, medium or geosynchronous Earth orbits.
“This resilient LM 400 satellite bus was created completely digitally, offering greater flexibility, commonality and the ability to rapidly configure to order across missions,” he said.
“Given that, we can produce these new satellites faster and at a much lower cost to our customers.”
The LM 400 space vehicle is compatible with single, ride-share or multi-launch configuration launch vehicles.
The satellite has potential military applications using its SmartSat software to perform onboard data processing and deliver actionable data mission operators and decisionmakers. The system has already been selected as one of the satellite buses supporting US Space Force’s planned Missile Track Custody program in medium-Earth orbit.
The first LM 400 is also the first of a planned regular series of self-funded on-orbit LM 400 technology demonstration missions.
It’s expected to have a 2023 launch carrying a Lockheed Martin-produced narrowband communications electronically steered array payload.
The next LM 400 demonstrator will be testing synthetic aperture radar-capable ESA on orbit using the LM 400 platform and is expected to launch in 2024.
“Our end goal is to accelerate the technical maturity of our satellites and advanced payloads, as well as showcase how new capabilities can be delivered quickly to customers,” said Mr Mahlman.
“Lockheed Martin set out on a journey to develop and deliver a highly capable space vehicle faster than ever before; and what we proved is the ability to move from concept design to an integrated spacecraft in half the time.”