Lockheed Martin releases open-source interface standard for docking in orbit

LITTLETONColorado, April 4, 2022 – Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has released a non-proprietary, open-source interface standard to support in-orbit docking within the industry.

With unit of effort in mind, Lockheed Martin has published this Mission Augmentation Port (MAP) interface standard online to support industry approaches to in-orbit servicing and mission augmentation. Those interested in integrating the standard into their space vehicles can download the necessary documents from www.LockheedMartin.com/MAP.

The MAP standard provides a mechanical interface design for docking spacecraft to each other. Equipping satellites with docking adapters provides a new way to add new mission capabilities to a platform after launch. Lockheed Martin’s Augmentation System Port Interface (ASPIN) is designed to be MAP compliant. The ASPIN adapter provides an electrical and data interface between a host spacecraft and a Satellite Augmentation Vehicle (SAV). With this technology, we are able to upgrade operational spacecraft at the speed of technology and provide an integrated maintenance infrastructure for spacecraft in orbit.

Data released by Lockheed Martin can be used by designers to develop their own MAP-compliant docking adapters which – unless discussions are needed between repairers and hosts to coordinate missions – will enable docking satellite interoperability. . Specifically, the published documents contain the information required for a conforming physical companion of the docking port halves, such as plate and petal dimensions. Although determined to be application specific, suggested electrical interfaces and docking profiles are included.

“Just as USB was designed to standardize computer connections, these documents are designed to standardize how spacecraft connect to each other in orbit,” said Paul Pelley, senior director of advanced programs at Lockheed Martin. Space. “We believe it is in the nation’s interest for the industry to have common interface standards to provide mission agility and enterprise interoperability.”

Vision for in-orbit upgrades

Just as we can now update missions in orbit using SmartSat™ to push software updates or load new applications, Lockheed Martin recognizes the need to reconfigure hardware capabilities to meet changing mission needs. This is where docking standards come in: standardized docking interfaces allow satellite operators to unlock a new kind of mission upgrades.

These upgrades are limited only by the capabilities of the host satellite and docking port interface, and can include processors, mass storage, or sensors that add longevity and value to missions. New mission capabilities can also be rapidly prototyped and tested on host spacecraft at a lower cost than traditional methods. Likewise, some satellite components may be replaced or upgraded post-launch with new hardware.

Unlike previous space missions where advanced technology begins to lose relevance immediately after launch, future missions will be upgradeable through in-orbit hardware and software upgrades. What Lockheed Martin envisions goes beyond “filling the tank” to extending mission life. The company is confident that its work will add true mission capacity in a sustainable and profitable way.

“Ultimately, our goal is to drive the development of a new ecosystem where the function of a platform can change at the pace of technology,” Pelley said. “This ecosystem will be made up of VAS providers, payload manufacturers and others who will benefit from the in-orbit augmentation infrastructure.”

For more information, visit our website: www.lockheedmartin.com.

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin Corporation is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 114,000 people worldwide and is primarily engaged in research, design, development, manufacturing, integration and service. maintaining state-of-the-art technology systems, products and services.

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