Optical Payload Center of Excellence

We're shaping the future of optical systems by rapidly producing technology that will cost a fraction as much as current systems. How do we do it? We're bringing together experts across a variety of disciplines, our industry partners and academia. Working collaboratively, often virtually to align skills, expertise and perspectives in a system engineering framework that drives mission success from prototypes to mission ready hardware while reducing time from idea to reality. Innovation in the heart of the silicon valley, the Optical Payload Center of Excellence.


The center provides a unique collaborative setting for Lockheed Martin technologists. We’re building on decades of experience in optical payloads, and now we will use a fully digital environment that links all stages of development to accelerate collaboration. We’re connecting with our best of industry partners, government labs and universities to advance payloads and rapidly mature technologies, such as digital focal plane technologies, directed energy lasers, ladar systems and specialized lens and mirror research. We’re driving all aspects of our optical payload technology into the future through the use of the Digital Tapestry.


Mark Pasquale, Vice President of Engineering
Lockheed Martin Space Systems




The Future of Optics has Arrived

This center of excellence enables new frontiers in visible-light and infrared systems, missile defense, space exploration and much more. We’re uniting design teams into one fast-acting, collaborative unit. Its members integrate experts across the nation, within Lockheed Martin, our industry partners and leading research universities into one fast acting collaborative unit within the Optical Payload Center of Excellence.

Optical Payload Center of Excellence Datasheet



Eric Johnson_LOTIS_10Mar2015_27-930
Clear Vision

Our approach to developing optical technologies unites expertise and accelerates ideas. Learn more about optical payloads and how this center of excellence works in this Q&A with Eric Johnson, the center’s director.



Lockheed Martin’s digital tapestry is a framework that ties everything together digitally, from concept to product realization. It is requirements, design, manufacturing and test all connected as a single thread. Efficient and effective. Under the digital tapestry, when these efforts are united, we can make amazingly complex system faster and more affordably.


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The Digital Tapestry is revolutionizing our approach to manufacturing, including optical payloads. With a purely digital environment, technicians test our processes in virtual worlds and collaborate with engineers on improvements. Once in production, 3-D modeling informs our work instructions and feeds directly into our additive manufacturing areas, which can generate everything from rapid prototypes to space-ready flight hardware. We see real cost and schedule saving results when the entire development cycle is digitally connected.


Dennis Little, Vice President of Production
Lockheed Martin Space Systems


Driving Value and Performance for Optical Payloads

Lockheed Martin’s systems engineering framework drives optical systems success – from prototype to mission-ready payload. With flexible technologies and reprogrammable processing applications at our Optical Payload Center of Excellence, we can foresee mission needs over a program’s lifetime. This creates value and reduces risk for government and commercial customers alike.

Leaping Forward with Optical Payload Simulation

Lockheed Martin is leaping ahead of the rest of the industry in optical systems design and production. Our Optical Payload Center of Excellence efficiently simulates the entire hardware and software system – sensors, processors and communications interfaces.



Trusted Experience

Lockheed Martin is no newcomer to optical technology, harnessing the physics and  science of optical technology as we demonstrate our deep understanding and heritage in optical missions.  We have a history of partnering with the best talent in industry, government labs and universities to achieve mission success over the waterfront of missions. From small to large, commercial space to classified space, optical solutions are a passion. They are part of Lockheed Martin’s DNA.

Case Study: Small Sat, Big Difference

Lockheed Martin not only works to improve optical technology but the entire life cycle of development. From analysis to production and testing, we maximize digital and virtual reality systems to accelerate solutions. For example, NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph went from concept to payload completion in just 36 months.

  • Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS )

    Launched June 27, 2013
  • Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam)

    Completed April 16, 2014 for James Webb Space Telescope
  • Optical Payload Center of Excellence (OPCOE)

    In the heart of the Silicon Valley
  • Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA)

    A suite of four telescopes, delivered December 2008 for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)
  • Hexagon

    20 vehicles launched from June 1971 to April 1986