EL SEGUNDO, CA—Boeing has unveiled a new high-throughput assembly line here production, integration and testing of small satellites. Designed for efficiency and rapid delivery timelines, the line will be housed in Boeing’s 1-million-square-foot factory, the world’s largest satellite factory. The line will be run by Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems.
“Boeing and Millennium are bringing together Boeing’s production expertise, domain knowledge, and manufacturing capacity with Millennium’s agility and rapid prototyping,” says Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Launch. “We’re scaling and growing to fulfill our customers’ vision for multi-orbit constellations with demand across markets and mission sets.”
The companies are applying advanced and additive manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing entire space-qualified satellite buses, to offer faster cycle times while improving performance.
“Our customers need satellites on-orbit faster than ever,” Chilton says. “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 factory. Boeing will provide access to the factory’s extensive environmental and specialty testing capabilities.Designed to build small satellites for different security levels on the same assembly line, the digitally defined small satellite factory incorporates model-based systems engineering, digital design engineering, and design for manufacturability.