Oct 5, 2017 | By Tess

Global aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin has signed multiple new agreements with Australian universities that will see the company collaborate on a number of aerospace and 3D printing-related projects. The new university partners include Melbourne’s RMIT University, the University of Sydney, and Curtin University.

Lockheed Martin announced the new partnership agreements just days ago at the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, where it made clear its interest in Australian collaborations.

“Lockheed Martin has a strong track record of partnering with Australian industry and universities on space-based technology research and development programs,” stated Rod Drury, managing director of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Australia. “Australia’s participation in the development of advanced technologies that will support the utilization, monitoring, and exploration of space provides opportunities for innovation, local skilled jobs and growth across our space industry, and clearly demonstrates Australia’s world class R&D capabilities in this area."

Through the partnerships, Lockheed and the university researchers will embark on various aerospace projects, some of which will be based on additive manufacturing technologies.

Its collaboration with RMIT University, for instance, will be centered on the development of new metal materials for 3D printing, as well as new processes and techniques for metal 3D printing in general. As we already know, metal-based additive manufacturing has various applications in the space industry and could be a hugely beneficial technology for the production of spacecraft and more.

RMIT University in Melbourne

The appeal of 3D printing in the aerospace industry is largely because the technology has the potential to create lighter parts (making things easier to ship to space), and could even be used in space (see the ISS’ AMF 3D printer) to produce anything from tools to habitats on demand.

“This fundamental research may lead to improved metallic additive manufacturing processes and materials, reducing costs without sacrificing quality—making it feasible to manufacture high-strength lightweight aerospace components anywhere, and at any time, even in space,” explained Milan Brandt, a professor and the technical director of the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (AMP) at RMIT University.

Lockheed Martin will also be working with researchers from the University of Sydney’s Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) to develop photonic-based filters for microwave Radio Frequency (RF) signal processing. While not 3D printed, this project could enable much faster processing and manipulation of data received by transmitters.

“The photonic RF filter R&D project started out as a fundamental research program, and to see this research capture the attention of a global innovation leader such as Lockheed Martin is a testament to both the standard of research being conducted at CUDOS, and the potential processing capability of the optical domain,” said Professor Benjamin Eggleton, director of CUDOS.

Australia's Curtin University

Last but not least, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is teaming up with Curtin University to advance, test, and validate the latter’s “Desert Fireball Network” meteorite tracking technology.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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