Lockheed Martin has launched two partnerships with Australian universities focusing on space-based technology research and development (R&D) projects at the 68th International Astronautical Congress being held in Adelaide.
The tie-ups with the University of Sydney and Melbourne’s RMIT University, respectively will feature research and development projects on defence and commercial space-based applications, Lockheed Martin said on Wednesday.
The aerospace company says its work with the University of Sydney would look at developing photonic-based filters for microwave radio frequency (RF) signal processing.
Meanwhile, the project with RMIT University is focused on new materials and new processing routes for metallic additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company managing director for Australia Rod Drury said the two partnerships were part of the company’s track record of working with industry and universities.
“Australia’s participation in the development of advanced technologies that will support the utilisation, monitoring and exploration of space provides opportunities for innovation, local skilled jobs and growth across our space industry, and clearly demonstrates Australia’s world class R&D capabilities in this area,” Drury said.
The University of Sydney’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) project lead and director Professor Benjamin Eggleton said the use of fibre-optic components enabled data received from transmitters such as satellites to be “manipulated faster, and in many more ways”.
“The photonic RF filter R&D project started out as a fundamental research program, and to see this research capture the attention of a global innovation leader such as Lockheed Martin is a testament to both the standard of research being conducted at CUDOS, and the potential processing capability of the optical domain,” Prof Eggleton said.
The use of 3D printing has been an increasing focus across the manufacturing sector, with aviation and aerospace no exception.
To that end, RMIT University’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP) project lead and technical director Professor Milan Brandt said the development of the technology, particularly for high-strength lightweight alloys, would have “significant implications for aerospace applications”.
“This fundamental research may lead to improved metallic additive manufacturing processes and materials, reducing costs without sacrificing quality – making it feasible to manufacture high-strength lightweight aerospace components anywhere, and at any time, even in space,” Prof Brandt said.
The International Astronautical Congress concludes on Friday.