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Lockheed Martin launches new STAR spacecraft manufacturing centre

Reporter

Lockheed Martin has launched its new Spacecraft Test, Assembly and Resource (STAR) Center, built to support the expansion of manufacturing and testing services for NASA’s Orion spacecraft program, as well as other future space exploration missions.

Lockheed Martin launches new STAR spacecraft manufacturing centre
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At present, the prime assembles the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I and II moon missions at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, with the STAR Center expected to provide space for a new production phase of Orion.

According to Lockheed, this would expedite the development of future Orion spacecraft – starting with the Artemis III mission.

"The STAR Center is a spacecraft factory of the future and is the centrepiece of our commitment to build sustainable and affordable capabilities for NASA to send astronauts to explore the moon and eventually Mars," Lisa Callahan, commercial civil space vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin Space, said.

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"We are using advanced manufacturing capabilities and digital-first technologies to speed production and improve quality to get Orion from factory to space faster than ever before."

The site for the STAR Center took approximately 18 months to develop, costing almost $20 million.

It is expected to support the implementation of digital transformation technologies, along with the prime's existing production resources.

This is set to include integrating the STAR Center into Lockheed Martin's Intelligent Factory Framework (IFF) — an edge computing platform designed to secure, scale and standardise device connectivity through various IT platforms.

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Over 30 machines at the STAR Center will be connected to this IFF, as well as machines at NASA's O&C, providing production members with real-time access to valuable data.

The centre also leverages remote access, monitoring and alerting technologies for equipment, as well as smart tools such as virtual reality and augmented reality.

NASA has committed to ordering Orion vehicles for six missions, with the potential to add another six through 2030.

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