Lockheed Martin continues to push boundaries and innovate the manufacturing process. Now tasked with prototyping a deep space habitat for NASA they will utilize revolutionary technologies to ensure its success. The goal is to create a habitat that will keep astronauts safe while onboard and at the same time able to operate the spacecraft autonomously when unoccupied. This is part of their public-private partnership called ‘The NextSTEP program’ and Lockheed Martin will be using mixed reality to accomplish this ambitious goal.
Mixed reality in combination with rapid and virtual prototyping will be used to create the entire module. The company has yet to specify which kind of mixed reality or augmented reality technology they will be utilizing but one can assume Microsoft HoloLens will be a contender. Microsoft HoloLens has so much potential in the modern manufacturing industry. Being able to see a completed model of a product, component or in this case, spacecraft virtually laid out in front of the engineers and the manufacturers can prove invaluable.
The production of this prototype will take place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and work will continue over the next 18 months. This initiative will help to further understand the systems, standards and common interfaces needed to make living in deep space possible. Augmented and mixed reality will be an essential aspect of its development. It can provide unprecedented insights into production, helping to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
This isn’t the first time Lockheed Martin is using mixed reality to help with the manufacturing process. In the advanced factory where they build the F-35 fighter jets, engineers use augmented reality glasses and educational software that offer individuals real-time visuals throughout the assembly process.
As time goes on and more manufacturers have access to this advanced technology, the benefits will entice smaller businesses to get on board. These systems are already becoming more affordable by the day and SME’s are utilizing incredibly advanced technology to help them remain competitive. Companies like Lockheed Martin are leading the way forward, offering a roadmap for smaller manufacturers to follow.
Be sure to check back on MFG Talk Radio soon for the latest developments moving the manufacturing industry forward. As more information comes to light about the mixed reality system Lockheed Martin will be using, this article will be updated.