Lockheed Martin has implemented a new linear particle accelerator at its Advanced Technology Center in Silicon Valley to aid the company’s space instrument tests.
Lockheed said Tuesday the 1,800-square-foot center houses the SPARC accelerator along with new hardware designed to test instruments such as space-based imaging and communications satellites for deep space navigation.
The company noted that technicians from Denmark installed the accelerator as part of a collection of new testing hardware that aims to boost spacecraft performance capacity.
“Before we send new materials and instruments into orbit, we must first ensure they will survive the brutal environment of space,” said David Knapp, lead scientist for Lockheed’s SPARC program.
“We replicate the space environments in vacuum chambers here on Earth and analyze the results.”
Lockheed added that the ATC’s testing machines have the capacity to speed protons up to more than 12 million miles per hour, shoot electrons up to 66 percent the speed of light and deliver 2.5 suns worth of light exposure.