Lockheed Martin invests US$350m in satellite production facility

The 266,000ft2 'factory of the future' will speed production, lower costs and includes a high bay cleanroom capable of simultaneously building a spectrum of satellites – micro to macro

The Lockheed Martin Gateway Center

Preliminary construction is underway on a US$350m Lockheed Martin facility that will produce next-generation satellites.

The new facility, located on the company's Waterton Canyon campus near Denver, is the latest step in an ongoing transformation to provide future missions at reduced cost and cycle time.

The new Gateway Center, slated for completion in 2020, includes a state-of-the-art high bay cleanroom capable of simultaneously building a spectrum of satellites from micro to macro.

The facility's paperless, digitally-enabled production environment incorporates rapidly-reconfigurable production lines and advanced test capability.

It includes an expansive thermal vacuum chamber to simulate the harsh environment of space, an anechoic chamber for highly perceptive testing of sensors and communications systems, and an advanced test operations and analysis center.

The Gateway Center will be certified to security standards required to support vital national security missions.

“This is our factory of the future: agile, efficient and packed with innovations. We'll be able to build satellites that communicate with front-line troops, explore other planets, and support unique missions,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems.

“You could fit the Space Shuttle in the high bay with room to spare. That kind of size and versatility means we'll be able to maximise economies of scale, and with all of our test chambers under one roof, we can streamline and speed production.”

Lockheed Martin expects the construction effort to employ a total of 1,500 contractors during the three-year construction phase.

Companies selected by Lockheed Martin for the project include Hensel Phelps as the general contractor, Matrix PDM Engineering and Dynavac for thermal vacuum chamber design and construction, and ETS-Lindgren for anechoic chamber design and construction.

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