Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of space systems segment at Lockheed Martin, told Via Satellite in an interview published Tuesday the company has made multi-year investments across its production processes in order to compete with “NewSpace” startups and meet mission demands.
“What we’re really concentrating on now is designing in 3D — what we call model-based engineering — so we can virtualize and simulate designs before we produce them,” Ambrose told the publication.
He cited how Lockheed engineers adopt the 3D-printing technique to design and produce tools and long-lead satellite components and offered updates on the company’s effort to develop a 3D-printed propellant tank for a satellite.
Ambrose also discussed the advantages of building low Earth orbit satellite constellations with short lifespans and its potential application in geosynchronous Earth orbit satellite development.
“It would be healthy for the industry to shrink back some of those design lives,” he told the publication.
“The other thing is it would help stabilize the launch market because you’re launching more frequently.”