Cultivating tomorrow’s Australian SATCOM workforce

Cultivating tomorrow’s Australian SATCOM workforce
October 05, 2021

As a trusted space technology and capability partner to Australia, Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) is committed to cultivating excellence in the next generation of Australia’s sovereign space and satellite communications workforce.

As part of this effort,  LMA has launched a new military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) internship program. The initiative is designed to provide high calibre undergraduate students with an immersive experience that encompasses all aspects of military satellite communications, from spacecraft and payload design to ground segment architecture and satellite operations.  

LMA’s Regional Director for Space, David Ball, highlighted the importance of providing engineering students with the kind of practical workplace experience that will position them to support, operate and enhance Australia’s sovereign SATCOM system in coming years and decades.

“A deep technical and engineering skill base is  key to realising a truly sovereign satellite communication system for Australia."

David Ball, Lockheed Martin Australia’s Regional Director for Space

University of Sydney student Adele Burke is LMA’s inaugural MILSATCOM intern. Adele is studying a double degree in mechanical engineering and mathematics, majoring in space. As part of her work under the LMA MILSATCOM internship, Adele is developing models that optimise the architecture of satellite constellations for resilience and survivability.

“I’ve been hooked on Space from an early age,” Adele said. The more I learned, the more I needed to know.”

Adele joined the LMA team in 2019 as a Technical Intern (Space) and during her first summer at LMA, she worked on FireOPAL, a sovereign Space Domain Awareness capability developed in partnership with Curtin University.


According to LMA’s FireOPAL chief engineer, Greg Madsen, Adele made a significant impact on the project.

“We needed to find a solution for determining our location on the ground from looking at a number of objects in the sky, as opposed to the traditional method of locating the position of a space object from a number of locations on the ground,” Greg said.

“Adele’s work was instrumental in solving that issue.”

Earlier this year, Adele returned to LMA Space as the inaugural MILSATCOM  intern, this time to support the JP9102 campaign.

“The opportunity to contribute to LMA’s approach to realising a sovereign satellite communication system for Australia has been a dream come true."

Adele Burke, Lockheed Martin Australia's inaugural MILSATCOM intern

“Leveraging US experience and heritage, we’re designing an operationally superior system, one that optimises across coverage, capacity, resilience and extensibility – and which can be delivered on an expedited timeframe to meet Defence needs,” said Adele.

With the completion of her fourth year of study, this summer Adele will provide support to the LMA Sustainment Engineering team.

“I would encourage anyone with a passion for space to consider pursuing study in the STEM fields.”

“With so much of our lives reliant on space-based technologies there are exciting career opportunities opening up and you just never know where it might lead,” Adele said.