Lockheed Martin's 3D printed parts for US military satellites

Issue No. 7-8 | April 1-30, 2017Photo(s): By Lockheed Martin

When the US Air Force’s sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF-6) satellite launches into space, a 3D printed part will be along for the ride. A Remote Interface Unit, an aluminium electronic enclosure designed to hold avionic circuits, will be the first 3D printed part certified for use on a Lockheed Martin military satellite.

By going from multiple machined parts to one 3D printed part, the team was able to save time in the design and production cycle, as well as increase the quality and consistency of the units. The lead time for manufacturing the part went from six months to only 1.5 months, with assembly time also being reduced from 12 hours to just three hours.