Lockheed Martin has announced that its first mid-sized satellite, called LM 400, has entered the final testing stage, preparing for its launch later this year.

The multi-mission spacecraft bus has rolled off the production line of the company’s digital factory. 

LM 400 is also the first satellite developed by Lockheed Martin as part of its planned regular series of self-funded on-orbit LM 400 technology demonstration missions.

Also called the LM 400 Tech Demonstrator, the spacecraft bus will carry a Lockheed Martin-built narrowband communications electronically steered array (ESA) payload.

Lockheed Martin Space Satellite Bus Center of Excellence strategy and capture director Matt Mahlman said: “This resilient LM 400 satellite bus was created completely digitally, offering greater flexibility, commonality and ability to rapidly configure to order across missions.

“Our end goal is to accelerate the technical maturity of our satellites and advanced payloads, as well as showcase how new capabilities can be delivered quickly to customers.”

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The LM 400 bus can operate in low, medium and geosynchronous Earth orbits and is capable of hosting a variety of launch vehicles in a single, multi-launch or ride-share configuration.

The company is already under contract to support various payload missions aboard its LM 400 bus. One such contract was awarded by the US Space Force to support its Missile Track Custody programme.

The scalable spacecraft bus adheres to Modular Open Systems Architecture standards, making it compatible with potential military applications and interoperable with multi-domain platforms.

It also complies with the US Department of Defense’s Joint All-Domain Command-and-Control initiative.

Simultaneously, Lockheed Martin is also working on the next LM 400 demonstrator, which is slated for launch in 2024. It will help in assessing synthetic aperture radar-capable ESA on orbit leveraging the LM 400.