Announced in partnership with Adelaide-based satellite manufacturer Inovor Technologies, the program is dubbed “Hosted Missions Program” and is set to provide “multiple mission opportunities” all in the one launch vehicle, according to a statement.
JP 9102, the name for the $3 billion project to create a new military satellite communication capability for Australia, is hoped to eventually reduce the country’s reliance on the United States' defence capabilities, including the US military’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS).
The aerospace giant is heading a consortium to bid for JP 9102, which includes Linfox, Shoal Group and Clearbox Systems and others.
LMA said the small missions, which could include spacecraft to augment the JP 9102 satellite or separate commercial ones, will slot into any leftover space on the rocket.
“We’re committed to supporting Australian space industry by maximising the benefits of existing launch opportunities,” said David Ball, Lockheed Martin Australia’s regional director for space.
“Inovor, as the only spacecraft manufacturer in Australia developing bespoke spacecraft subsystems, and with deep experience providing satellite mission solutions for Defence, would support the Hosted Missions Program with exploratory studies, knowledge sharing, program planning activities and safety design requirements.
“By offering to facilitate launch and transferring engineering know-how and capability to these organisations, Lockheed Martin Australia is contributing to the ongoing development of our nation’s robust space capability,” Ball added.
Ball said the program will enable more Australian space companies and organisations to benefit from LMA’s JP 9102 proposal.
Inovor’s founder and CEO, Matt Tetlow, said the company welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the program.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to work hand in glove with Lockheed Martin Australia to create unparalleled opportunities for Australian space organisations, while also ensuring any hosted mission adds no risk to the safety and security of the primary JP 9102 spacecraft.”
The Hosted Missions Program falls under LMA’s Enhanced Australian industry Capability (AIC) plan, which was established to support small to medium Australian businesses to develop defence and space capabilities.
The JP9102 bid is competitive, and other contenders in the frame are thought to include Airbus and Team Maier, Boeing, and Team AUSSAT – comprised of companies including Optus, Thales and Raytheon.
Bella Richards is a journalist who has written for several local newspapers, her university newspaper and a tech magazine, and completed her Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2020. She joined Momentum Media in 2021, and has since written breaking news stories across Space Connect, Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.
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