Global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is investing $350 million in a state-of-the-art satellite production facility, complete with industrial grade 3D printers and “virtual immersion environments.”
Scheduled for completion in 2020, the Gateway Center is an expansion of the company’s Waterton Canyon campus.
Located near Denver, Colorado, the site is home to some of the largest cleanrooms for aerospace production on the planet.
Teaser of the forthcoming Gateway Center. Clip via LockheedMartinVideos on YouTube
Incorporating the digital thread
Focusing on micro and macro satellite building projects, the Gateway Center is Lockheed Martin’s next generation production facility, promising to be “paperless” and “digitally-enabled” with “rapidly-reconfigurable production lines”.
“You could fit the Space Shuttle in the high bay with room to spare.”
– Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
Projects likely to make use of the 266,000 -sq.-ft facility include further development of the US Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites, that acquired its first 3D printed parts in April 2017.
According to Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, “This is our factory of the future: agile, efficient and packed with innovations. We’ll be able to build satellites that communicate with front-line troops, explore other planets, and support unique missions,”
He continues, “You could fit the Space Shuttle in the high bay with room to spare. That kind of size and versatility means we’ll be able to maximize economies of scale, and with all of our test chambers under one roof, we can streamline and speed production.”
Investing in America
Ambrose states that “Aerospace is an engine of innovation and growth for America,” and this investment is key to strengthening the nation’s contribution to technology for the military, scientific exploration and commercial space ventures.
As discussed by Brian O’Connor, Vice President of Production Operations at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, the company is “Printing the Path to Mars” by applying the technology to its latest spacecraft and satellite projects for NASA.
Ambrose adds, “We’re transforming every aspect of our operations to help our customers stay ahead of a rapidly-changing landscape. The Gateway Center, coupled with advancements in 3D printing, virtual reality design and smart payloads, will deliver game-changing innovations while saving our customers time and money.”
Just last month, Lockheed Martin also announced that it would be investing $1 million in a new additive manufacturing lab at Metropolitan State University of Denver, after winning $73 million worth of aircraft contracts from the U.S. Department of Defense.
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Featured image: Digital render of the forthcoming Lockeed Martin Gateway Center. Image via: Lockheed Martin