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Construction of a $350 million satellite production facility described as "a factory of the future" is underway at Lockheed Martin's Waterton Canyon campus in south Jefferson County.
Named Gateway Center, the 266,000-square-foot facility will produce up to seven micro and macro satellites in one building, saving time, resources and cost, said Jay Bolden, Lockheed Martin Mission Solutions communications leader.National security, scientific and commercial satellites of all sizes will be assembled and tested in the facility, which will consolidate equipment and allow for a faster turnover to customers.
“Moving things back and forth takes time and resources away,” Bolden said. “This is the dream building — we have everything we want in one location.”
Lockheed's Waterton Canyon campus, which sits on the southwest edge of Roxborough in Douglas County, has more than 4,000 employees and design, manufacturing and test facilities. Spacecraft currently in production at the campus include the Air Force's GPS III satellites, NASA's InSight Mars lander, NOAA's GOES-R Series weather satellites and commercial communications satellites, a media release from Lockheed Martin says.
Gateway Center will be the largest facility at the campus, expected to bring 1,500 construction jobs over the next three years. Completion is slated for 2020. The aerospace and defense company has added more than 750 jobs to its Colorado workforce since 2014, and currently has about 350 job openings in the Denver area, according to the media release. Gateway Center will accommodate the recent growth and future projects, the release says.
The expansion's economic impact to the area is welcome, economic development leaders said.
Lockheed Martin has nearly 6,300 employees in Jefferson County and contracts with hundreds of local suppliers, said Leigh Seeger, interim president of Jefferson County Economic Development Corp. She added that with high average salaries, employees tend to have more disposable income to spend.
"The economic impact of Lockheed Martin to Jefferson County is significant," Seeger said.
Innovative features inside Gateway Center include paperless operations, virtual reality design and 3D printing. Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, calls Gateway Center a “factory of the future.”
“We'll be able to build satellites that communicate with front-line troops, explore other planets and support unique missions," Ambrose said in the media release. “We're transforming every aspect of our operations to help our customers stay ahead of a rapidly-changing landscape.”
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