Speaker Interview: Whitley Poyser - Digital Transformation Lead, Lockheed Martin Space

Digital transformation is an exciting topic, not only affecting the way we manufacture whitley poyserspacecraft, but also optimizing future missions. Prior to her speech at Space Tech Expo USA, we caught up with Whitley Poyser, digital transformation lead at Lockheed Martin Space, to ask her about the implementation of new technologies and how a more digital environment is changing the space industry.


Hi Whitley, could you please tell us a little bit more about your role as digital transformation senior leader at Lockheed Martin Space?

I am the digital transformation lead for Lockheed Martin Space, working with the Lockheed Martin Digital Transformation Office and leading a cross-functional team enabling Lockheed Martin's digital environment. In this role, I am responsible for architecture, strategic planning, technology roadmaps, technology program execution, and transition of processes and capabilities that enable a digital environment within Lockheed Martin Space, and across Lockheed Martin.

You will participate in the Designing the Factory of the Future: Implementing Digital Transformation in the Space System Manufacturing Value Chain to Optimize Efficiency panel session at the Conference on Wednesday, May 22. What are the most prominent developments regarding digital transformation in the space manufacturing chain at the moment?

Space manufacturing is multidimensional and so digital transformation for space is also multidimensional. It’s about leveraging the knowledge of so many expert operators who understand space manufacturing and applying emerging technologies to that.

What are the challenges of implementing new technologies in a manufacturing process where engineers have always worked in a particular way? Would engineers and management alike be required to develop new skill sets?

New-skills development is an expectation of all employees whether on the factory floor, working in an office, or leading teams, in the fourth industrial revolution. It is that continuous learning that supports enabling a digital transformation.

Taking a step beyond the manufacturing process, what will digital transformation mean for our future missions – either in LEO, in the Gateway development or in deep space missions?

Digital transformation is actually all about enabling missions, current and future. With digital transformation, more of the missions we want to take can be possible and are enabled when the time comes to take them.

In terms of industry news, what development, announcement, or otherwise has stood out most to you in the past year and why?

Something very important I think is that our US defense customers also understand and believe in the importance of digital transformation, and last June released their Digital Engineering Strategy which is a commitment to them and their people that digital transformation is foundational to delivering our missions going forward.

Whitley will be speaking at the Space Tech Conference 2019 on  'Designing The Factory of the Future: Implementing Digital Transformation in the Space System Manufacturing Value Chain to Optimize Effiency' on Wednesday 22 May at 1.15pm.