In-Space Upgrade Satellite System

Lockheed Martin
Bethesda, MD

Lockheed Martin’s In-Space Upgrade Satellite System (LM LINUSS™) accomplished a successful on-orbit demonstration, proving how small satellites can serve an essential role in sustaining critical space architectures. They do this by regularly upgrading existing constellations with new capabilities and extending spacecraft design lifecycles.

LM LINUSS, a technology demonstration funded internally by Lockheed Martin, is made up of two 50-inch 12U CubeSats. While on-orbit, the system demonstrated highly-automated rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO), which enables complicated maneuvering across multi-satellite constellations. This allows on-orbit servicing coordination and upgrades at scale in any orbit. The RPO demonstration was part of Lockheed Martin’s mission to validate essential maneuvering capabilities for future space upgrade and servicing missions.

During the demonstration, one of the LM LINUSS CubeSats acted as the designated servicing vehicle, navigating a flightpath towards the second CubeSat, which represented the resident space object (RSO). As the servicing vehicle approached the RSO, on-board guidance algorithms made final real-time adjustments to complete its rendezvous operations.

“The LM LINUSS pathfinder is an excellent example of how Lockheed Martin is investing in innovation in the real world. Agile development, cloud-based operations, and smallsat platforms came together at speed and in orbit, where the real test of technology occurs,” said Johnathon Caldwell, Lockheed Martin, Vice President and General Manager, Military Space. “Through the accomplishments of LM LINUSS, Lockheed Martin is pioneering how future small and medium class missions will be upgraded on-orbit.”

In addition to RPO, the toaster-sized CubeSats also accomplished additional technology demonstrations while on-orbit, including:

  • Performing automated maneuvers and using artificial intelligence to fly coordinated flightpaths, supporting a variety of operational conditions.

  • Using Lockheed Martin’s Horizon™ 2.0 command and control (C2) software and advanced RPO software.

  • Maintaining connection with a secure cloud-based architecture for mission telemetry, tracking and control.

  • Validating new onboard processing, low-toxicity propulsion, inertial measurement units, machine vision, and 3D-printed components.

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