Boeing unveils a new high-throughput Small Satellite Production Facility

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Boeing's Small Satellite Production Facility
Above: The small satellite factory incorporates model-based systems engineering, digital design engineering, and design for manufacturability within a modular footprint equipped to build small satellites for different security levels/Image Source: Boeing

Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, unveiled a new high-throughput small satellite production facility. The small satellite production facility will be powered by Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems and will be housed in the world’s largest satellite production facility, Boeing’s 1-million-square-foot El Segundo facility (92,903 square metres). The companies are employing advanced and additive manufacturing techniques, such as 3D printing entire space-qualified satellite buses.

It will also have an integration, and testing facility designed for efficiency and rapid delivery timelines that will enable faster cycle times while improving performance.

“Boeing and Millennium are bringing together Boeing’s production expertise, domain knowledge, and manufacturing capacity with Millennium’s agility and rapid prototyping. We’re scaling and growing to fulfil our customers’ vision for multi-orbit constellations with demand across markets and mission sets.”

– Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Launch

Chilton added, “Our customers need satellites on-orbit faster than ever. Much like an airplane or auto production line, we’re 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 production facility, bringing proven processes and infrastructure from the subsidiary, as well as environmental testing 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 perform a fully controlled soft landing on the moon and over 300 satellites.

“Millennium’s culture is rooted in creating innovative ways to revolutionize space. We’re bringing that culture into our facilities, rapidly building large constellations of high-performance small satellites, taking advantage of a footprint that’s larger than two professional hockey rinks.”

– Jason Kim, chief executive officer, Millennium Space Systems

The digitally defined small satellite factory incorporates model-based systems engineering, digital design engineering, and design for manufacturability to build small satellites for different security levels on the same assembly line.

Jason Kim added, “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’re excited to leverage this impressive capability to support our customers’ critical missions.”

The small sat factory’s initial operational capability was achieved in September 2021, and full operational capability is expected in late 2022.

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