Lockheed Martin announced last week that it has joined with Thales Alenia Space of Italy in a strategic partnership to offer a new family of space-based remote sensing systems (read, space radar) to worldwide customers. “This partnership builds on our respective strengths and proven performance in providing world-class, cost-effective solutions for civil and defense customers globally,” said Rick Ambrose, Lockheed’s vice president and general manager of surveillance and navigation Systems. He added that the companies are well positioned to help customers “achieve their space radar objectives.” The companies’ initial focus will be on offering “new, highly responsive and agile space radar solutions.” One particular customer, the US, may loom large for the companies. In August, the Pentagon issued a request to industry for information on commercial and international space radar systems, both planned and existing, that could be leveraged by early next decade to meet the US military’s surveillance needs. This came after the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community canceled the joint space radar program that they were pursuing due to the inability to resolve how to marry the requirements of strategic and tactical users on one platform.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.