Lockheed Martin’s New Optical Payload Center In Silicon Valley

Lockheed Martin’s Optical Payload Center of Excellence advances optical systems used in satellites, lasers, telescopes and targeting systems. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin’s Optical Payload Center of Excellence advances optical systems used in satellites, lasers, telescopes and targeting systems. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

Palo Alto, California. September 11, 2014 – A new technology center in the heart of Silicon Valley will help Lockheed Martin advance optical systems that power innovations used in satellites, lasers, telescopes and targeting systems.

The Optical Payload Center of Excellence unites design teams into one fast-acting, collaborative unit to develop optical payload technologies that are more powerful, precise and affordable than today’s systems. It incorporates experts across the world from Lockheed Martin, its industry partners and leading research universities.

“The Optical Payload Center of Excellence will benefit from the digital tapestry that links all stages of development, from initial concept and design to production and qualification,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “We are leading the way, using immersive virtual reality systems and 3-D printing, to simplify manufacturing and assembly processes. This reduces cost and accelerates the delivery of complex systems.”

The center will provide a place for experts to collaborate, develop, test and produce optical payloads. Scientists and engineers will not only advance technology but also research ways to deliver exacting capability faster and more affordably. For example, sensitive optics on NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph are delivering incredible new images of hidden areas of the sun using a small satellite, which went from concept to payload completion in just 36 months.

The center is located at the company’s newest research and development facility in Palo Alto to capture the best talent and resources the region has to offer. It is a unique collaborative setting for mission, technology and system engineering experts.

“Our customers are increasingly turning to optical payloads for their unrivaled precision and power, particularly on satellite systems,” Ambrose said. “Considering our 50 years of experience delivering space-qualified optical systems, we deeply understand our customers’ missions, needs and requirements.”

From observatories and satellites to missile defense seekers and targeting pods, numerous Lockheed Martin products use sophisticated optics, such as digital focal planes, directed energy lasers, ladar systems and specialized optical systems research.