More Bang for your Buck: Getting the Most Mission for Your Money
Here on Earth, when we say something is “long lasting” we directly relate that to value. People want to invest in reliable items that continue to do their job over and over, without failure, especially if they continue to do that job well after their warranty life.
Let’s face it – nobody wants appliances they believe will die the day after their warranty expires. Today, product longevity is demanded by consumers. Even in the technology industry, which is familiar with regular refresh cycles, everyone wants to get more out of their budget. Long product life also defers replacements costs.
So why does all this matter? Longevity of a product is an excellent predictor of positive Return of Investment (ROI) – or getting the most performance for your money.
So what does ROI have to do with space and satellites? Everything.
We are the consumers of hundreds of space services from satellite missions. Satellites that orbit Earth provide everything from television programming to cellular connections; accurate weather forecasting to precision positioning, navigation and timing; and scientific discoveries to national security.
Clearly, satellite operators do not have an easy task sustaining all these services. With Lockheed Martin, they get a little extra help.
Lockheed Martin has a long history of producing satellites that deliver capability long beyond their design lives. Today, nearly 200 Lockheed Martin-built satellites are operating in orbit. The oldest active satellite launched in 1985 – that’s before the introduction of smartphones in the United States – and it is still delivering on its mission.
The nearly 200 Lockheed Martin-built satellites collectively have more than 2,700 years of on-orbit operation. Together, these spacecraft are exceeding their design lives by more than 6 times.
“Space is an inhospitable place for sophisticated electronics, when you consider satellites need to survive the turbulence of a launch, as well as the extreme temperatures of space,” explained Mark Valerio, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Military Space line of business. “It really is a tribute to the quality of the engineering design and workmanship of these systems that they continue to perform their missions so long.”
Superior quality satellites also pay off another way. The extended life for our customers allows them more time to plan for replacement units.
“Of course, nothing lasts forever,” stated Valerio. “But a satellite delivering capabilities for six times its originally intended design life – I would say is delivering real value to our customers.”