Satellite Factory of the Future: The Gateway Center
Welcome to the home of some of tomorrow’s most innovative satellites and spacecraft. Our new Gateway Center will be packed with innovations that will make spacecraft production faster, smarter and more affordable for our customers. In this facility we’ll build a spectrum of satellites from micro to macro that communicate with front-line troops, explore other planets, and support unique missions.
We’re investing $350 million to build the most advanced satellite manufacturing facility in Lockheed Martin’s history. The new Gateway Center is 266,000 square feet and includes:
- A high bay clean room where we’ll build and test multiple large and small satellites simultaneously
- A large thermal vacuum chamber that simulates the harsh environment of space for testing satellites before they launch
- An expansive anechoic chamber for safely testing satellite antennae, sensors and communications systems
The new center is designed for the assembly, integration and test of national security, scientific and commercial satellites. Starting with piece parts and subsystems and ending with a completed satellite ready for shipment to the launch site. The layout of this new facility is optimized for a streamlined process flow that enhances quality, efficiency and affordability.
The high bay is a Class 100k clean room, capable of processing five modernized A2100 satellites or multiple small- to medium-sized satellites at one time. Satellites can move easily from the high bay to the nearby thermal vacuum chamber and anechoic chamber, facilitating a one hour move time versus a two-day operation.
Once the Gateway Center is complete, Lockheed Martin will have a total of 3.5 million square feet of production, engineering, test and office space, making our Denver-based facility one of the largest satellite and space manufacturing centers in the world.
Beyond the streamlined facility layout and self-contained test chambers, enterprise planning tools will be implemented to make every operation and process efficient, mistake-proof and paperless. The integration of these tools will enable on-time parts and components to streamline our assembly process.
Digital features include bluetooth tools that self-check and directly link and record data into the work instruction. We will automate the test process which reduces procedure development time by 30 percent and test execution time by 15 percent. Automation processes can be used on mobile devices, enabling total access to all data, procedures and drawings at the touch of a finger. The Gateway Center will also house pick-and-place robots that will deliver parts directly to technicians.
Through 3D printing, virtual reality design and improved commonality of components, our goal is to deliver satellites that are dramatically more powerful and flexible at a fraction of the cost and delivery time for our customers.