Preliminary construction is underway on a new, $350 million Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) facility that will produce next-generation satellites.
The new facility, located on the company's Waterton Canyon campus near Denver, Colorado, is the latest step in an ongoing transformation, infused with innovation 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 clean room 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.
Lockheed Martin expects the construction effort to employ a total of 1,500 contractors during the three-year construction phase. Lockheed Martin has added more than 750 jobs to its Colorado workforce since 2014, and currently has about 350 job openings in the Denver area alone. This building will accommodate that recent growth and new future projects. State and local officials in Colorado have helped strengthen the aerospace industry and foster an environment that helps aerospace companies thrive and grow.
Lockheed Martin's Waterton Canyon campus has been a hub of space innovation since the 1950s, with more than 4,000 employees and a wide range of industry-leading design, manufacturing and test facilities on site. Spacecraft currently in production at the site include the Air Force's GPS III satellites, NASA's InSight Mars lander, NOAA's GOES-R Series weather satellites, and commercial communications satellites.
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.
According to Rick Ambrose, the EVP of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, this is the company's factory of the future: agile, efficient and packed with innovations. Satellites that communicate with front-line troops, explore other planets, and support unique missions, will be built here. The Space Shuttle could fit in the facility's high bay, and with room to spare. That kind of size and versatility means the company will be able to maximize economies of scale, and with the test chambers will all be under one roof, streamlining and speeding the production process.He added that aerospace is an engine of innovation and growth for America, and Lockheed Martin is investing in infrastructure and technology to help strengthen the nation's leadership in military and commercial space and scientific exploration. Every aspect of the firm's operations to help customers stay ahead of a rapidly-changing landscape is being transformed. The Gateway Center, coupled with advancements in 3D printing, virtual reality design and smart payloads, will deliver game-changing innovations while saving customers time and money.