Lockheed plans $350M satellite factory
Aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin on Wednesday announced plans to to spend $350 million on a satellite production facility at the company’s Waterton Canyon campus near Denver.
Space “is a big place, but we plan to be a leader in it,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin’s space systems business.
Lockheed’s business is being challenged by newcomers that have pledged to populate the lowest rung of Earth’s orbit with “microsatellites,” which are often just a few meters wide.
The global telecommunications investment firm SoftBank is spending $1.7 billion to combine Luxembourgbased Intelsat with Richard Branson-backed OneWeb, creating a satellite behemoth that seems singularly focused on smaller, cheaper models. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is working to launch 4,425 small satellites into low Earth orbit by 2024.
Plans for the new facility call for manufacturing, assembling and testing centers that are large enough to keep multiple production lines running at the same time, allowing the facility to produce large satellites as it is churning out smaller ones.