ESA sensor demo to prove concept in orbital missionsNews
November 27, 2023
DENVER, Colo. Lockheed Martin is slated to launch a new wideband electronically steerable antenna (ESA) payload demonstrator aboard the Firefly Aerospace Alpha rocket to illustrate how its technology will aid in increasing the efficiency and speed of on-orbit missions.
According to the company's announcement of the upcoming launch, the payload team expects to calibrate this new ESA sensor in a fraction of the time it takes to operationalize traditional on-orbit sensors, which historically can take months to be powered on, fully calibrated, and ready to perform their mission. For this demonstration, the sensor was integrated on a Terran Orbital Nebula small satellite bus.
The ESA payload -- nicknamed "Tantrum" -- is built on a novel, scalable design, using highly reliable commercial parts for fast mass producibility. It comes out of Lockheed Martin Space’s Ignite organization, a new team established to target three main missions: exploratory research and development, accelerating the pace of technology development, and introducing innovative new products.
The payload demonstrator is expected to launch in December 2023 on a Firefly Aerospace Alpha rocket as part of a previously announced Lockheed Martin/Firefly agreement.