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Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is one of the four major business divisions of Lockheed Martin. It is headquartered in Denver, Colorado with additional sites in Sunnyvale, California; Santa Cruz, California; Newtown, Pennsylvania; Huntsville, Alabama; and elsewhere in the US and UK. The division currently employs about 16,000 people, and its most notable products are commercial and military satellites, space probes, missile defense systems, NASA's Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (formerly Orion), and the Space Shuttle External Tank.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

The Lockheed Missile Systems Division was established in Van Nuys, Ca. in late 1953 to consolidate work on the Lockheed X-17 & X-7. The X-17 was a three stage solid-fuel research rocket designed to test the effects of high mach atmospheric reentry. The X-17 was also used as the booster for the Operation Argus series of three high-altitude nuclear tests conducted in the South Atlantic in 1958. The Lockheed X-7 (dubbed the "Flying Stove Pipe") was an American unmanned test bed of the 1950s for ramjet engines and missile guidance technology.

Lockheed Missiles Division moved from Van Nuys, CA, to the newly constructed Palo Alto, Ca. facility in 1956, then to the larger Sunnyvale facility in 1957. The Polaris missile was the first major new program for both locations, followed later by satellite programs, thus the name change to Lockheed Missiles and Space Division. The Polaris missile was a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) built during the Cold War by Lockheed Missiles & Space Division in Sunnyvale, Ca. for the United States Navy. The Polaris program started development in 1956, with its first flight test in 1958. In 1962, the USS Ethan Allen successfully fired a Polaris A-1 missile against a test target in 1960. The SLBM has evolved through Polaris (A2), Polaris (A3), Poseidon (C3) Trident I (C4) and ongoing with today's Trident II (D5). All of these were designed and managed at the Sunnyvale CA facility. Together, these are known as the Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Program. Lockheed Martin has been the sole provider of FBM missiles since 1956. Lockheed Missiles & Space became prime contractor for elements of Military Satellite System (WS 117L), calling for the development of a strategic satellite system. The core element was Lockheed's Agena spacecraft, the world's first multipurpose spacecraft with boost and maneuvering engines, also acting as the 2nd stage of the launch vehicle and/or carrier vehicle for the reconnaissance system. WS-117L and Agena lead to the development of the Corona satellite -- the nation's first photoreconnaissance satellite system, collecting both intelligence and mapping imagery from August 1960 until May 1972. Over 800,000 images were taken from space, with imaging resolution originally equaling 8 meters, later improved to 2 meters. The program was declassified in February 1995. Approximately 365 Agena spacecraft supported a wide variety of missions, from NASA's early interplanetary efforts; to the US Navy's SeaSat, the USAF's Corona, Midas and Samos series between January 1959 and February 1987, when the last Agena D was launched.

The Corona Program lead to the development of the Gambit and Hexagon programs. The first Gambit system, launched in 1963, was equipped with a 77-inch focal length camera system . The second system, Gambit 3 was equipped with the camera system that included a 175-inch focal length camera. The system was first launched in 1966 and provided the U.S. with exquisite surveillance capabilities from space for nearly two decades. Hexagon was first launched in 1971 to improve upon Corona’s capability to image broad denied areas for threats to the United States. Twelve of the 19 systems flown also carried a mapping camera to aid in U.S. military war planning. In addition, Gambit and Hexagon were launched aboard rockets built by Lockheed Martin heritage companies. Gambit 1 was launched on an Atlas rocket with the orbiting Agena D upper stage and Gambit 3 was launched using a Titan III B booster. Hexagon was launched aboard the larger Titan III D rocket.

Lockheed achieved the first-ever hit-to-kill of an ICBM reentry vehicle in 1984 with the Homing Overlay Experiment, using the Kinetic Kill Vehicle (KKV) force of impact alone to destroy a mock warhead outside of the Earth's atmosphere. The KKV was equipped with an infrared seeker, guidance electronics and a propulsion system. Once in space, the KKV could extend a folded structure similar to an umbrella skeleton of 4 m (13 ft) diameter to enhance its effective cross section. This device would destroy the Minuteman RV with a closing speed of about 20,000 feet per second at an altitude of more than 100 miles. Further testing produced the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV). The Titan I was the first version of the Titan family of rockets, first developed in October 1955, when the US Air Force awarded the then Martin Company in Denver, Co., a contract to build an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). It was the United States’ first two stage rocket and formed an integral part of their strategic deterrent force. In the early 1960s the rocket was adapted to launch the Gemini capsule that carried two people at a time into space. Titan succeeded in launching 12 Gemini spacecraft and has also helped to launch the Viking missions to Mars, Voyager I and II and most recently Cassini to Saturn. It began as a backup ICBM project in case the Atlas was delayed. It was a two-stage rocket powered by RP-1 and LOX. The Titan I and Atlas ICBMs using RP-1/LOX fuel did not have a quick launch sequence. They took about 30 minutes to fuel up and fire. Most Titan rockets were derivatives of the Titan II ICBM. The Titan II ICBM had one W-53 warhead with a 9 megaton yield, making it the most powerful ICBM on-standby in the US nuclear arsenal. The Titan III was a modified Titan II with optional solid rocket boosters. It was developed by the U.S. Air Force as a heavy-lift satellite launcher to be used mainly to launch U.S. Military payloads such as DSP early-warning, intelligence (spy), and defense communications satellites. The Titan IV is a stretched Titan III with non-optional solid rocket boosters. It could be launched either with the Centaur upper stage, with the IUS (Inertial Upper Stage) or without any upper stage. It was almost exclusively used to launch U.S. Military payloads, though it was also used to launch NASA's Cassini probe to Saturn in 1997.[2]

RCA Astro Electronics, a division of RCA was formed in the late 1950s and went on to become one of the leading manufacturers of satellites and related systems. RCA Astro Electronics was based in East Windsor, New Jersey. When General Electric purchased RCA in 1986 Astro Electronics was renamed GE Astro Space. This was sold to Martin Marietta in 1993 and became part of Lockheed Martin in 1995 following that company's merger with the Lockheed Corporation.

In 1995 Lockheed Martin announced the closure of the New Jersey facility and the relocation of operations to Sunnyvale, California. The New Jersey facility finished the orders it had and closed in 1998. Commercial space operations have recently moved back to a new facility in Newtown, PA. but final integration and testing of commercial satellites is still performed in Sunnyvale. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is now headquartered in Denver, but still does considerable operations from Sunnyvale. Also located near Sunnyvale is the ATC (Advanced Technology Center), which is located in Palo Alto. This was formerly called the Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratory (LPARL).

On August 31, 2006, NASA selected Lockheed Martin Corp., based in Bethesda, Md., as the prime contractor to design, develop, and build Orion, America's spacecraft for a new generation of explorers. As of May 21, 2011, the name was changed to the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), being developed for crewed missions to an asteroid and then to Mars. The capsule is also planned as a backup vehicle for cargo and crewed missions to the International Space Station. It will be launched by the Space Launch System.

In November 2010, Lockheed Martin Space Systems was selected by NASA for consideration for potential contract awards for heavy lift launch vehicle system concepts, and propulsion technologies.[3]

Lines of business[edit | edit source]

Space Systems comprises six Lines of Business (LOBs). Each of these is a P & L (profit and loss center) focused on a set of specific customers and related products. Each LOB is led by a Vice President and General Manager, also referred to as a "President".

Strategic and Missile Defense Systems[edit | edit source]

President: Tory Bruno

Products: Missiles, hypersonic reentry vehicles, kill vehicles, battle management software, and directed energy weapons

Heritage Programs[edit | edit source]

Surveillance and Navigation Systems[edit | edit source]

President: Mark Valerio

Customers: USAF
Products: Surveillance and navigation satellites

    • SBIRS Space-Based Infrared System
    • GPS-IIR
    • GPS-III

Global Communications Systems[edit | edit source]

President: Kevin Bilger

Customers:USN, USAF, various US and foreign commercial entities
Products: Communication satellites

    • MUOS Mobile User Objective System
    • AEHF Advanced Extremely High Frequency
    • Milstar
    • Design and production of A2100 commercial geosynchronous telecommunications satellites. (formerly a separate LOB called "Commercial Space")

Sensing & Exploration Systems[edit | edit source]

President: Jim Crocker

Customers: NASA, NOAA
Products: Earth observation and exploration satellites

Human Space Flight[edit | edit source]

President: John Karas

Customers: NASA
Products: Human space flight vehicles

    • The NASA Space Shuttle External Tank
    • The NASA Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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