PARIS — Pressure for faster delivery of satellites, the arrival of mega-constellations and requirements for quicker introduction of innovative technologies is pushing satellite manufacturers towards more standardization as the industry faces what has been described as unprecedented changes.
Speaking at the World Satellite Business Week here Sept. 13, executives of leading satellite manufacturers Thales Alenia Space, SSL, Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK, agreed that innovative approaches are needed to face the changing requirements of the customers.
“The lead times used to be 36 months,” said Jean-Loïc Galle, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Now customers are asking between 12 and 18 months of lead time of production. We all know it is extremely difficult to build a satellite in 12 months.”
According to Galle, meeting such requirements is only possible by using standardized buses and payloads that could be just taken off the shelf.
Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group, said that in addition to decreasing lead times, using standardized technology as much as possible would also help reduce cost for the customer, another major pressure the manufacturers are facing.
“We are trying to standardize across the product lines as much as we can ...