Lockheed Martin is to build a new $350m facility to produce next-generation satellites at its Waterton Canyon campus near Denver, Colorado, US.

The 266,000ft² Gateway Centre facility will include an improved high bay clean room that can simultaneously form a range of micro and macro satellites.

It will also feature a thermal vacuum chamber to simulate the harsh environment of space, an anechoic chamber for highly perceptive testing of sensors and communications systems, as well as an advanced test operations and analysis centre.

The Gateway Centre will also be certified to the necessary safety standards to support crucial national security missions.

“This is our factory of the future: agile, efficient and packed with innovations."

Facility construction is currently underway and expected to be completed by 2020.

Once completed, the paperless, digitally enabled facility is expected to accelerate production time and reduce costs. It will also help the US to advance in its military and commercial space and scientific exploration.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems executive vice-president Rick Ambrose said: “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.

“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 maximise economies of scale, and with all of our test chambers under one roof, we can streamline and speed production.”

During the three-year construction of Gateway Centre, Lockheed Martin expects to employ 1,500 contractors.

Lockheed Martin has also selected Hensel Phelps as the general contractor, Matrix PDM Engineering and Dynavac for thermal vacuum chamber design and construction, as well as ETS-Lindgren for anechoic chamber design and construction of the facility.

Image: Rendering of Lockheed Martin’s new satellite production facility. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.