Lockheed Martin's new 266,000-square-foot Gateway Center facility in Littleton will be the future of spacecraft innovation.Citing a need to improve its spacecraft production across the board, aeronautics company Lockheed Martin is beginning construction on a $350 million "factory of the future" at its Waterton Canyon campus in Littleton. The new Gateway Center, which is slated to be completed in 2020, will span 266,000 square feet, enabling Lockheed Martin to work on seven micro and macro satellites simultaneously.
This is our factory of the future: agile, efficient, and packed with innovations," Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, said in a press release. "We'll be able to build satellites that communicate with front-line troops, explore other planets, and support unique missions. 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."With everything they need in one place under one roof, the company's engineers are excited about the increased productivity they'll experience once the "factory" is complete. Satellites of all sizes (whether for national security, commercial, or scientific use) will be built and tested in the new facility without the need to hop between buildings. “Moving things back and forth takes time and resources away,” said Jay Bolden, Lockheed Martin Mission Solutions communications leader. “This is the dream building — we have everything we want in one location.”
The Gateway Center's innovative features will include an expansive thermal vacuum chamber for simulating the atmosphere of outer space, as well as an anechoic chamber for communication systems testing, paperless operations, virtual reality design, and 3D printing. It will also hold the certification required to support national security missions as needed. Lockheed Martin currently employs approximately 6,300 people at its Waterton Canyon campus, which has been a hub of space innovation since the 1950s. It has added more than 750 jobs to its Colorado location within the past three years. According to the press release, 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.
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