Lock­heed Martin to build $350M satel­lite site

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Danika Worthington

Lock­heed Martin on Wed­nes­day an­nounced plans to build a $350 mil­lion satel­lite pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity at its Water­ton Canyon cam­pus in south Jef­fer­son County, aim­ing to in­crease pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, drop costs and ac­com­mo­date a grow­ing work­force.

The 266,000-square-foot build­ing, named Gate­way Cen­ter, will be one of the largest pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties on the cam­pus and should be com­pleted by 2020, com­pany spokesman Matt Kramer said. Ground­break­ing is sched­uled for the end of Au­gust.

The fa­cil­ity will be large enough for the com­pany to build five of its flag­ship A2100 satel­lites at the same time. One A2100 is typ­i­cally 20 feet tall.

Assem­bly and test­ing will be per­formed un­der the same roof, so em­ploy­ees can sim­ply roll a satel­lite down the hall rather than mov­ing it between build­ings for test­ing. By tak­ing the steps out of pack­ing, mov­ing and un­pack­ing a satel­lite, the com­pany will cut test­ing time from about two days to un­der an hour.

Con­struc­tion of the fa­cil­ity will cre­ate 1,500 con­tract jobs. Lock­heed Martin cur­rently has about 8,600 em­ploy­ees in Colorado, 4,000 of whom are based in Lit­tle­ton. It has added more than 750 jobs to its Colorado work­force since 2014 and cur­rently has 350 job open­ings in Den­ver. In April, the Colorado Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion ap­proved $12.6 mil­lion in tax cred­its for the com­pany in re­turn for bring­ing 550 new jobs to Jef­fer­son County over eight years.

Kramer said the fa­cil­ity is built with ef­fi­ciency and in­no­va­tion in mind and with an eye to­ward cut­ting costs.

That goal seems es­pe­cially im­por­tant th­ese days. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has pres­sured fed­eral con­trac­tors to lower costs, in­clud­ing tweet­ing that Lock­heed Martin’s F-35 fighter-jet pro­gram costs were “out of con­trol.” But he has also called for a hike in fed­eral de­fense spend­ing, which should ben­e­fit com­pa­nies such as Lock­heed Martin.

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