At Space-Comm Expo 2023 in June, Jennifer Rogers, Chief Architect, Northrop Grumman spoke about digital transformation, but what does that mean in the context of the space industry? For Rogers, it is about the prophecies and tools we use to develop the technology, and how digital transformation is improving the speed and affordability of creating new technology.

Digital transformation

She told FINN, “We’re talking about our designs, we’re utilising different systems like model-based system and engineering-type systems, modelling and simulation, and really creating a digital thread through the data that enables us to build up things like a digital twin of our systems so we can ensure we have lowest risk possible when we do insert something into space in order to have the highest chance of missions success.”

Rogers also spoke about the use of augmented reality headsets and the benefits this type of technology presents to the space sector. “Northrup Grumman specifically is using virtual reality headsets and motion capture technology in a system called the highly immersive virtual environment,” she said. “What that allows us to do is be able to place early design into a virtual environment, and that allows maintainers, system integrators and even reviewers to go in and work in the environment with those physical systems in the preliminary design state or even critical design state.”

Save time and money

This enables the company to determine design faults or adjustments that need to be made before the technology is built and launched, saving time and money along the development process. “Being able to do that much earlier on in the design reduces the number of design cycles so you can get to that end product much more quickly and with a lower cost,” Rogers concluded.