Boeing Opens New Smallsat Factory Powered by Millennium Space Systems
Boeing is opening a new small satellite production facility to take advantage of capabilities from Boeing and subsidiary Millennium Space Systems. The facility, announced Wednesday, is housed in Boeing’s manufacturing facility in El Segundo, California.
The facility had initial operating capability in September 2021, and is projected to reach full operational capability late this year.
Jim Chilton, senior vice president of Boeing Space and Launch said the facility brings together Boeing’s production expertise and manufacturing capacity with Millennium’s “agility and rapid prototyping,” to meet demand for constellations. Millennium Space Systems, acquired by Boeing in 2018, delivers small satellite prototype and constellation solutions.
Rachelle Radpour, CTO of Boeing Satellite Systems International, told Via Satellite that some customers want Boeing’s specific capabilities and others want Millennium’s specific capabilities, but this new factory will be able to blend capabilities from both product lines.
“We can do that with the same factory, integrating those products, integrating the product lines. I think we are going to see some exciting things there,” Radpour said.
Radpour said this facility will help both businesses respond to RFPs for constellations. “We see this trend, both sides of the house — Millennium and Boeing Satellite Systems — are getting requests for constellations. Proliferation is real and there’s demand for it. Having that capability services both of our businesses,” she said.
The facility allows for advanced and additive manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing entire space-qualified satellite buses, and it incorporates model-based systems engineering, and digital design engineering.
“Millennium’s culture is rooted in creating innovative ways to revolutionize space,” said Jason Kim, CEO of Millennium Space Systems. “We’re bringing that culture into our facilities, rapidly building large constellations of high-performance small satellites, taking advantage of a footprint that’s larger than two professional hockey rinks.”