Stories of Innovation

WE'RE ENGINEERING
A BETTER TOMORROW

We’re Engineering a Better Tomorrow stories give you behind-the-scenes access to the innovative solutions that Lockheed Martin scientists and engineers are working on every day. At Lockheed Martin, we're pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery and defending global security, making science-fiction concepts, real.

 
 

Space Exploration at Lockheed Martin

Understanding the World’s Megacities with Cutting Edge Tools

Megacities – cities with over 10 million people – are increasingly emerging. Learn how we’re developing new technologies to understand the inner working of these massive municipalities.

Space Exploration at Lockheed Martin

Planet Hunters: How Telescopes are Discovering New Worlds

Exoplanet-hunting missions have generated a lot of buzz, and future missions are under development to take discovery to the next step.

Hybrid Airship Technology at Lockheed Martin

How Hovercraft Technology Could Help People in the Most Remote Parts of the World

What is a hovercraft? It’s part boat, part airplane and part helicopter. While it may look a bit odd, how it works is quite simple.


5 ‘STAR TREK’ TECHNOLOGIES THAT ACTUALLY EXIST

Boldly Go with These 5 ‘Star Trek’ Technologies That Actually Exist

This month, the sci-fi phenomenon Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary. While you’re waiting for the U.S.S. Enterprise to beam you up, discover 5 examples of technology you don’t have to wait 300 years to see.

OSIRIS-REx Journey to Bennu

There and Back Again: How OSIRIS-REx is Returning Asteroid Samples to Earth

A 1,614-foot asteroid has quietly been crossing Earth’s orbit around the sun every six years, and it’s now expecting a visitor. Follow along with this seven-year journey, cruising through space to Bennu and back.

QUIZ: What Type of Engineer Should You Be?

QUIZ: What Type of Engineer Should You Be?

Engineers do more than just math and science – they build the future through invention, discovery and exploration! To help celebrate National Engineers Week, we partnered with Project Lead the Way on this fun quiz to help you learn a little more about what engineering has to offer.


Space School is Now in Session

Space School is Now in Session

Today’s middle school students are going to be future presidents, inventors and journalists. They’re also going to be the first generation to go to Mars. Discover how we're helping them prepare for their mission.

The Smartest Unmanned Vehicles You’ll Never See

The Smartest Unmanned Vehicles You’ll Never See

While self-driving cars and flying drones have dominated headlines on robotics, advances in underwater technology have quietly evolved the use of unmanned vehicles under the surface of the sea.

Quiz: Which Superhero-Like Jets Outshined Their Hollywood Co-Stars?

QUIZ: Which Superhero-Like Jets Outshined Their Hollywood Co-Stars?

With superhuman-like powers, it’s no surprise that Lockheed Martin aircraft have appeared in major films with Hollywood’s A-list superheroes. We’ve shared our list of top superhero flicks with guest appearances from our favorite stars.


Innovative Energy Technologies

DO Try This at Home: 3 Energy Technologies We Took From the Lab to Our Office

For decades, we've engineered the best energy solutions to help customers meet the demands of today, while preparing for the energy needs of tomorrow. And the solutions were so effective, we're using them ourselves.

The Hover Technology That Would Make Your Morning Commute Ridiculously Easy

Hover Technology That Would Make Your Commute Easy

If you live in suburbia, or a crowded downtown street, wouldn’t it be nice to set off to work in your private aircraft? With the F-35B Lightning II’s short take-off and vertical landing capability, the world becomes your runway.

Exclusive Look Inside an All-Star Missile Defense Team

Exclusive Look Inside an All-Star Missile Defense Team

Ask any sports fan and they'll tell you: Strong teams have a strong defense. Check out how this all-star defensive lineup is keeping citizens, critical assets and deployed forces safe from current and future threats.


Sikorsky - Smart Technology for Helicopter Safety

Smart Technology: Improving Helicopter Safety

Climb into the Sikorsky S-92 cockpit with us, and explore how iPad apps are helping helicopter pilots to quickly plan flights for search and rescue or medical evacuations.

Crash Test Dummies

Engineering for Dummies

“Anthropomorphic test device” - otherwise known as crash test dummies. Check out how we crash, splash and even open fire on dummies to analyze the effects of future passengers and make missions safer for mankind.

SR-71 Blackbird

How the X-Men’s X-Jet Blackbird Compares to the Original SR-71

Featured prominently in both comic books and on the big screen, the X-Men’s official mode of transportation is heavily inspired by our SR-71 Blackbird, giving us a unique connection to this group of “gifted youngsters” and superheroes.


Quick and Quiet: Supersonic Flight Promises to Hush the Sonic Boom

Quick and Quiet: Supersonic Flight Promises to Hush the Sonic Boom

Resembling a futuristic paper airplane, this aircraft holds the secret to quiet supersonic commercial travel over land.

Star Wars Technology

The Force is Strong With This Technology

Star Wars technology is the stuff of fantasy (lightsabers, anyone?). However, thanks to some recent technological breakthroughs and some really smart engineers, high-tech gadgetry on par with the sci-fi silver screen may be even closer than you think.

USCG Search and Rescue

A Look Inside the U.S. Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue Technology

From compasses and radios in the 1950s, to advanced software and location technologies today, take a look inside the U.S. Coast Guard's search and rescue technologies that are saving lives every day.


SPIDER

How We're Shrinking the Telescope

Since Galileo first started gazing at the stars atop a mountain in Italy, to modern-day astronomers who can see billions of miles into space, the general design of a telescope has pretty much remained the same. SPIDER aims to change all that.

Technology Enabling Humanitarian Aid

How the Fantasy of Invisibility Becomes Reality in the Sky

The F-35 strike fighter jet makes the fantasy of cloaking devices a reality as it navigates airspace with the most advanced powers of hide and seek. Its multiple stealth devices comprise the ultimate invisibility cloak. In the F-35 and elsewhere, stealth and cloaking technologies have become more comprehensive and durable, with applications for military and other industries. This is what happens when science meets imagination.

Directed Energy

Designing a Laser to Defeat Drone Swarms

It starts as a speck on the horizon - a drone swarm. An operator is already tracking it through the battle management system. The laser weapon system is ready to fire. They’ve been training for this moment, for this threat... Armed drones in the wrong hands is a potential threat - one we're developing solutions for.


Cognitive Exoskeleton

The Cognitive Exoskeleton

An exoskeleton refers to the external covering of the body, seen most commonly in nature in some invertebrate animals. This design allows these animals to manage additional physical weight and load. Learn how engineers are applying that concept—along with biomechanics—to build better teams of people with the help of machines.

Juno on Road Trip to Jupiter

Road Trip to Jupiter

Launched in August 2011, the Juno spacecraft has been on a road trip of sorts, on its way to Jupiter to study the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. Although Juno is a part of NASA’s New Frontier Program and is currently millions of miles away, it is operated by a multi-institution team, one of which is at our Mission Support Area (MSA) near Denver, Colorado.

How Our Engineers Would Design a Superhero Vehicle

How Our Engineers Would Design a Superhero Vehicle

The Batmobile has been surprising comic book fans with its ever-changing design and technology for more than 70 years. Well, we are big fans of seriously supreme vehicles, so we asked our engineers, how would they design a superhero vehicle?


Red Planet

Exploring the Red Planet Here on Earth

While The Martian is a work of science fiction, the principles behind survival on the Red Planet are very real—and, in fact, are already being applied by engineers at Lockheed Martin every day. From MAVEN to InSight, ISS cargo missions to the ship that will take us to Mars, learn more about the work being done to prepare for a potential future on Mars.

Video Games Get Serious

Video Games Get Serious: More Simulator Time = Better Training

The steady hum of the fighter jet loudly echoes in your helmet. As you soar at 30,000 feet, a voice in your headset tells you it’s time to land. Sandstorms are rolling in from the west, and you will be forced to recover in low-visibility conditions. This is a one-seat plane and you are on your own…

Cognitive Radio

Could Cognitive Computing Eliminate Weak Wi-Fi?

All communication transmissions depend on the radio frequency spectrum—which has a limited number of frequencies. Many are given to broadcasting organizations as well as police and other emergency services. Every wireless phone, computer, or toy has a frequency that had to be either purchased by a telecommunications company or provisioned by the government. With all of the devices looking for a channel, we’ve run out of room on the spectrum.


U-2

Innovating Beyond the U-2

Imagined and built by Skunk Works in the early 1950s, the U-2 boasts an iconic legacy as one of the few planes to operate during the Cold War and remain in operation today. Sixty years after its first flight, the U-2’s incredible technological and operational capabilities are enabling missions from natural disaster support to intelligence gathering.

First Responder Tech

New Technology Ups the Speed, Connectivity and Mobility for First Responders

From assessment, to planning to action, the technology that Lockheed Martin is working on – and partnering with others on – is helping to support first responders in your community across their entire mission.

hypersonic

What it Takes to Build a Hypersonic Vehicle

The Enterprise and Millennium Falcon travel at speeds well over Mach 5 - and we dream of the day we too can zoom across the galaxy in a few short hours. With this dream in mind, our researchers are taking lessons from early hypersonic flights and the latest in aviation technology to design the next wave of hypersonic vehicles.


Aircraft Quiz

QUIZ: Which Lockheed Martin Aircraft Are You?

Lockheed Martin is known for developing the most advanced aircraft in the world. Each aircraft’s strengths and abilities are derived from strategic research and development—whether it is the air superiority of an advanced tactical fighter or the physical endurance of a strategic airlifter. So, which Lockheed Martin aircraft are you most like? Take this quiz to find out.

F-35 Capabilities

Six Capabilities Only Possible in the World’s Most Advanced Fighter Jet

Only the F-35 Lightning II allows you to fly virtually undetected with a clear 360-degree view of your environment, with advanced targeting and radar systems and secure datalinks which allow you to share information across your entire network.

Humanitarian Aid from Space

Humanitarian Aid from Space

In a disaster, getting supplies to areas hardest hit is difficult. We and our fellow members of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Space are developing a free, open-source web tool that uses the power of space tech to give accurate, up-to-date information to humanitarian relief efforts.


OSIRIS-REx

Extracting Secrets from an Asteroid

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission aims to visit the small asteroid named Bennu and collect and return a sample of regolith - which holds information on the composition and the processes that have shaped the object’s evolution. Why? To give us the greatest clues yet into how life originated here on Earth. Learn how one small object tested in the mountains of Colorado will help make it happen.

How it Works: A City Powered by Waste

How it Works: A City Powered by Waste

For the residents of Herten, Germany, their homes and businesses will soon be powered by, not natural gas, coal or nuclear power, but waste wood. And, in the not-too-distant future, your city could get energy from municipal solid waste… aka regular trash. That’s right - Lockheed Martin and Concord Blue are turning the world’s waste into power.

Technology that Collects and Crunches Data from Space

Technology that Collects and Crunches Data from Space

From technology that helps us monitor the climate on Earth, to the technology that helps satellites avoid traffic in space, many of the things we rely on are connected to satellites and other spacecraft hundreds to thousands of miles away. Take a look at how our space intelligence and space situational awareness has improved over the years thanks to some technologies you might not know about.


Unmanned Systems

Underwater or on Land - All Unmanned

Imagine a truck convoy hauling freight on the highway without front seat drivers, or a small vehicle plumbing the ocean depths to inspect a deep-sea oil rig while sailors remain safe. Not confined to the skies, unmanned ground and undersea capabilities are expanding the safety and effectiveness of exploration and military missions around the world.

Fantastic Four

Four Fantastic Materials Science Principles in Action

While becoming invisible or changing your shape may seem like science fiction, the principles driving these abilities are very real—and, in fact, are already being applied by scientists every day. As research into materials science continues, industries around the world will benefit from an entire new set of solutions available at their fingertips—whether it is developing more efficient power sources, redesigning airplanes or traveling even deeper into space.

F-35: How It Works

F-35 Lightning II: How It Works

After a 10-year journey of research and development, U.S. armed forces now have a state-of-the-art plane to replace legacy aircraft several decades old—preventing exploding maintenance and obsolescence costs and diminished combat effectiveness. Testing of the F-35 is nearing completion, and its pilots are preparing to deploy in combat operations.


Technology Enabling Humanitarian Aid

The People and Technology Enabling Humanitarian Aid

In 2013, more than 22 million people were displaced from their homes due to a natural disaster - and there is no indication that trend is slowing. Read on to learn how smart—and courageous—people are helping make humanitarian aid more effective through technology.

Machines That Help Humans

Machines That Help, But Not Replace, Humans

We have often heard that machines will replace or outsmart humans, yet many experts envision a symbiosis where machines will become an extension of humans, anticipating needs and responding to our cues to perform tasks and assist with decisions. Two-way communication between human and machine will be at the center of this relationship.

Navy's Area 51

Experiments in a Digital Age: The Navy's "Area 51"

You probably know Area 51 as the Air Force’s famed Nevada-based testing ground. What you may not know is the Navy’s submarine community is experimenting with its own version of futuristic technology in a small mock control room near Washington D.C.


Eight Unmanned Aircraft Changing the World

Unfolding Eight Unmanned Aircraft That Can Improve Our World

Beyond their potential to deliver packages to your front door, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are already scanning the earth, carrying heavy supplies and fending off fires, among dozens of other useful tasks. Increasingly, UAS technology is freeing the operator from the basics of flying and unlocking new possibilities for the future.

Weather and Climate Study

Eleven Ways We're Studying Weather and Climate

Since the 1950s, Lockheed Martin has developed satellites, Doppler weather radars, upper-air observing systems, hurricane-hunter aircraft, and weather data information systems for federal agencies. The information we gather from these sources helps to improve forecasts, allocate resources more efficiently and save lives.

InSight

Mars InSight to Unlock Secrets of Planet’s Interior

Mars exploration missions are critical for greater understanding about the red planet and what it may take for humans to survive there. InSight will be the first to record measurements of Mars’ interior and provide the greatest clues yet into evolutionary processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system.


Space Traffic Control

Space Traffic Control

As more and more objects are launched into space, our ability to precisely plan missions and detect, track and catalog millions of pieces of space debris will become increasingly important.To cope with the congestion, researchers are drawing up precise calculations to determine ideal launch windows, controlling flight paths for spacecraft already in orbit, and developing advanced systems to track and classify hundreds of thousands of pieces of space debris.

Comic Book vs. Real Laser Technology

Science Fiction vs. Science Fact

Lasers are a hallmark of iconic comic series and science fiction novels. While their capabilities and uses vary, in most cases, lasers are highly accurate, work instantaneously and cause minimal collateral damage. But does any of the technology behind these futuristic laser-based systems have a parallel in real-life laser technology? Actually, more than you might think.

Lasers on Ships

The Case for Lasers and Sensors on Ships

Ever wonder what it takes to check the oil on a 388-foot, 3,400-ton, U.S. Navy warship? Here’s a hint -- it’s not a really long dipstick. Give up? The answer is lasers.


New Horizons Meets Pluto

A Rendezvous with Pluto: Powering a Probe for 3 Billion Miles

New Horizons is revealing to the world the very best images of Pluto we have ever seen and will complete the initial exploration of the ninth body in the classical solar system. And as it has since launch day, the power system Lockheed Martin worked on will continue to power the probe for this historic flyby, as well as whatever may come next.

Commercial Resupply Services

Re-creating the Transcontinental Railroad for Human Deep Space Exploration

Today, thanks to a revolutionary idea envisioned by Lockheed Martin, we’re creating a new kind of Transcontinental Railroad – for delivery of supplies in space. One that enables human exploration to destinations deeper in space than ever before.

Legion Pod

Legion Pod: Five Fast Facts

Utilizing a combination of advanced technologies — and providing a legion of capabilities unlike any other system —Legion Pod enables warfighters to successfully complete their missions while staying out of harm’s way.


LCS

The Automation Future: Smart Technology On Board the Navy’s Newest Ship

In 2016, the future USS Little Rock will join four other Freedom-class variants in patrolling the world’s shorelines and open seas. On each of these ships, onboard automation is essential to keeping machines healthy and crews happy. Read on for three technologies that engineers are applying to the LCS design to simplify life at sea.

Surprising Energy Sources

By the Numbers: Surprising Energy Sources and Technologies

With more than seven billion people on the planet and counting, we need to find new, clean ways of generating power to meet the growing demand for energy-dependent food and water production. Beyond traditional energy sources like coal, nuclear and hydroelectric dams, new technologies are revolutionizing the way we think about energy.

Back to the Future

Did Back to the Future Get it Right?

In Back to the Future: Part II, Marty McFly travels from 1985 to a futuristic 2015, complete with hoverboards, energy created from waste and even flying cars. So, how did the movie do? See how our Lockheed Martin technologists score the movie based on its technology vision for 2015.


Men and Women Behind Unmanned

The Women and Men Behind Unmanned

Learn from three Lockheed Martin engineers who love working in the elements - land, air and sea.

LCS

"Smartphones of the Sea" - A New Approach to Ship Design

Your smartphone's ability to add custom applications and easily upgrade them that makes your phone most useful. The U.S. Navy initiated a similar approach when officials developed the concept for the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

Energy on Tap

Energy on Tap: Five Cool Facts About Energy Storage

At every corner of the world, there is more demand than ever on the power grid. To counter this demand, technologists are introducing new, increasingly cost-effective ways to store energy and draw from it on demand. 


A-2100

Powering the Internet of Things

Satellites enabled smart phones, cable television, ATMs, GPS navigation, climate monitoring and more. Emerging technology is bringing into view the Internet of Things – an increasing number of objects with a digital footprint and integrated into a broader network. As this bold, new world arises, a modernized version of a highly successful Lockheed Martin satellite stands poised to usher in the new era.

buidling the f-35

Building Excellence: Components of the F-35

Many people have a hand in the elaborate process of getting the individual parts—or components—onto the F-35. It all begins with procuring each piece from a vast base of more than 1400 suppliers in the U.S. and around the world.

Technology Enabling Humanitarian Aid

How the Military Prepares Airmen for Battle

From “Top Gun” to “Avatar” to today’s role-playing games like Call of Duty, a new generation has grown up with a fictionalized understanding of augmented reality in military operations. However, the U.S. military is using these same technological tools seen on the big and small screen to train airmen and other personnel for complex battle conditions, injecting virtual threats into a live environment and teaching troops to operate equipment in all capacities.


USA Science & Engineering Festival

How the Largest Science Festival in the US Comes Together

If you take all of the hard work and pressure it took to make your elementary school science project a success and magnify it times 1,000, you would get close to what it takes to put together one of the largest science fairs in the world, the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

ALIS

Software You Wish You Had: Inside the F-35 Supercomputer

There’s no doubt a fighter jet is a modern marvel of aerospace engineering, but it may come as a surprise that the F-35 also houses enough computer programs to make any software engineer drool. Each jet will have more than 8 million lines of code—more than any other U.S. or allied jet in history.

Future Engineers

Five Future Engineers (and their Mentors)

Engineers Week is a week-long annual event, but at Lockheed Martin we celebrate engineers every day. Hear from five future engineers on what they love about STEM. And, whether you're a budding engineer or a parent, teacher or mentor to one, download our activity guide from our partnership with National Geographic.

Hot Electronics? Just Add Water.

Hot Electronics? Just Add Water.

It happens all the time – you get wrapped up in an online game or watch a couple shows on your tablet – and your mobile device gets hot. That heat is a result of the hundreds of microchips inside your device that make your device “smart” and pump out electricity. Learn about our plan to hose down and chill out high-powered microchips so devices can deliver.

Power Distribution - VirtuGrid

Power Distribution Just Got Smarter

As the worldwide demand for energy continues to grow, innovators around the world are setting their sights on new energy sources that harness the power of technology as well as natural resources like wind and water.

big-data

To Cyber Protect and Defend

Lockheed Martin’s cyber experts not only build protective systems – using things like firewalls, authentication systems and encryption software – but also continually defend those systems from cyberattack.