WASHINGTON — As part of an initiative to make its primary satellite platform more competitive in both commercial and government markets, Lockheed Martin Space Systems is now offering variants of its A2100 bus that can be launched together in a side-by-side configuration and also be reprogrammed on orbit.

The dual-launch option will enable customers to save on launch costs without sacrificing capability, Lockheed Martin said in a press release dated Sept. 8. The payload reconfiguration capability will allow customers to adapt to changing mission requirements and operating environments over the satellite’s lifetime, the company said.

Lockheed Martin has more than 40 A2100 variants on orbit today, performing missions including communications and missile warning. The company also is building at least eight of the platforms for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation GPS 3 navigation system and has studied dual-launch options as a part of that program.

Lockheed Martin said the side-by-side dual launch option is enabled by flexible solar arrays that save mass and reduce the width of the spacecraft. The reprogrammable mission processor will allow the A2100 to reroute telecommunications traffic and suppress interference, the company said.

Warren Ferster is the Editor-in-Chief of SpaceNews and is responsible for all the news and editorial coverage in the weekly newspaper, the spacenews.com Web site and variety of specialty publications such as show dailies. He manages a staff of seven reporters...