Lockheed Martin, University of Florida to develop and launch miniature satellites

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa., 27 March 2009. Lockheed Martin has partnered with the University of Florida to develop and launch five miniature satellites to test innovative space solutions. Lockheed Martin will fund $450,000 of research-and-development projects at the university in 2009.

Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services and the University of Florida will use these satellites to investigate technological advances such as miniaturized, space-hardened GPS electronics and state-of-the-art intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Lockheed Martin will also perform payload data analysis for these satellite missions.

The satellites, called CubeSats, are built in the shape of a cube, measuring 10 centimeters (less than four inches) on each side. They operate on a power output similar to a cell phone and weigh less than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). CubeSats can be built and launched relatively inexpensively and in a matter of months, compared to more sophisticated satellites that weigh thousands of pounds and cost millions of dollars to develop and launch.

The university's principal investigator on this project is Dr. Gloria J. Wiens, director of the Space, Automation and Manufacturing Mechanisms Laboratory, and her co-investigators Drs. Janise McNair and Anil Rao. These activities will complement the work of the Advanced Space Technologies Research & Engineering Center (ASTREC), led by the University of Florida's Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy. ASTREC is an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center under the National Science Foundation that works with the space industry to incorporate and evaluate technological innovations in their true operational environment.

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