Lockheed Martin opens STAR Center manufacturing for Orion spacecraft


Lockheed Martin opens STAR Center manufacturing for Orion spacecraft

The STAR Center, says the company, will expand manufacturing, assembly and testing capacity for NASA’s Orion spacecraft programme and support future space exploration.

The 55,000 square-foot space – in Titusville, Florida – will be a “digitally-transformed factory of the future” says Lockheed.

“The STAR Center is a spacecraft factory of the future and is the centerpiece of our commitment to build sustainable and affordable capabilities for NASA to send astronauts to explore the Moon and eventually Mars,” said Lisa Callahan, Commercial Civil Space vp and general manager at Lockheed Martin Space.

“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.”

Nearly $20 million has been spent, over 18 months, renovating and modernising the the building that formerly housed an Astronaut Training Experience attraction.

Lockheed Martin currently assembles Orion (Artemis I & II) near the STAR Center, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) building. Work will start with Orion Artemis III spacecraft, with components already in development.

Efficiencies

The STAR Center, it says, will be integrated into Lockheed Martin’s Intelligent Factory Framework (IFF), which is described as an edge computing platform that “secures, scales and standardizes device connectivity” through various IT platforms. Lockheed Martin has already deployed IFF to seven of its locations and will roll it out across the full company.

Also, it highlights, 30 machines at the STAR Center will be connected to the IFF, as well as machines at NASA’s O&C, giving all production team members at both facilities real-time access to valuable data. The STAR Center also employs remote access, monitoring and alerting technologies for equipment, plus smart tools such as the use of AR and VR (see above right).

Production activities include:

  • Assembly and test of Orion aeroshell heat shield and backshell panels, including thermal protection system installation
  • Crew module and crew module adapter wire harness fabrication and testing
  • Propulsion and environmental control and life support systems assembly and testing
  • Electrical ground support equipment production

The facility features:

  • Class 7 clean room for spacecraft component assembly
  • Proof pressure cell for spaceflight readiness testing
  • 9,000-square-foot high bay with ceiling crane
  • Non-destructive evaluation and inspection capability, which allows team members to test and analyse materials, parts, structures or
  • systems without damaging the original component
  • A newly built, separate machine shop

You can read more about the STAR Center online.





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