has unveiled a new high-throughput small satellite production, integration and test facility designed for efficiency and rapid manufacturing.
Housed in the world’s largest satellite factory, Boeing’s 92,903m2
El Segundo site, the small satellite production line will be powered by Boeing subsidiary, Millennium Space Systems
Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Launch, said: “We are bringing together Boeing’s production expertise, domain knowledge, and manufacturing capacity with Millennium’s agility and rapid prototyping and scaling and growing to fulfil our customers’ vision for multi-orbit constellations.”
The two companies are applying advanced and additive manufacturing techniques, including 3-D printing entire space-qualified satellite buses, to offer faster cycle times while improving performance.
Mr Chilton added: “Our customers need satellites in-orbit faster than ever. Much like an aircraft or automotive production line, we are employing lean production principles and advanced manufacturing techniques to accelerate delivery and pass on cost savings to our customers.”
Millennium’s team will staff the small satellite factory, bringing the subsidiary’s proven processes and infrastructure, in addition to environmental test capabilities tailored to small satellites. Boeing will also provide access to extensive environmental and specialty testing capabilities that have qualified some of the most iconic spacecraft, including the first vehicle to make a fully controlled soft landing on the Moon and more than 300 satellites.
Jason Kim, Millennium Space Systems CEO, said: “Millennium’s culture is rooted in creating innovative ways to revolutionise space. We are bringing that culture into our facilities, rapidly building large constellations of high-performance small satellites, taking advantage of a footprint that is larger than two professional hockey rinks.”
Designed to build small satellites for different security levels on the same assembly line, the digitally defined factory incorporates model-based systems engineering, digital design engineering, and design for manufacturability.
Mr Kim continued: “Understanding security protocols and how to build secure systems is critical to national security space, and this is an area where Millennium and Boeing excel. We are excited to leverage this impressive capability to support our customers’ critical missions.”
Initial operating capability took place in September 2021, and the small sat factory’s full operational capability is expected in late 2022.