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WASHINGTON — Satellite manufacturer Terran Orbital in 2024 plans to accelerate production at its factory in California, promising deliveries in 30 to 60 days, the company announced Sept. 7.
The company is marketing this effort as a “responsive space initiative” to shorten production timelines, said Marc Bell, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Terran Orbital.
“Today it takes us over a year to deliver a bus,” he said in a statement to SpaceNews. The 30-60 day service will be available in late 2024, he said.
The company will rely on increased automation and robotics systems to speed up production, said Bell. “We are standardizing common components which can be stocked and are interchangeable depending on the bus configuration.”
Terran Orbital is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and its factory is in Irvine, California. The company says it manufactures 85% of all modules and components that go into a bus. Bell said production will be sped up for any of the seven standard satellite buses the company sells, which range between 14 and 1,000 kilograms.
Customers will be able to get a standard satellite bus within 30 days and a complete satellite with integrated payloads within 60 days, Bell said. Pricing for the faster turnaround service hasn’t been set yet.
“Everyone wants things right away so we expect a lot of demand,” he said.
Partnering with payload suppliers
Terran Orbital will partner with other firms that produce payloads such as electro-optical, synthetic aperture radar and hyperspectral imaging; communications or other payloads, the company said.
“The demand for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities is increasing much faster than satellite manufacturers can currently meet,” Bell said. “Our goal is to address this demand and improve the availability of ISR capabilities in critical regions.”
The company hopes this initiative will attract both commercial and government customers.
One of Terran Orbital’s main customers is Lockheed Martin, a strategic investor in the company and a supplier of satellites to the U.S. Space Development Agency. Lockheed Martin uses Terran Orbital’s buses for communications satellites it’s producing for SDA.
“We learned a lot from the SDA programs on how to speed things up cost effectively,” Bell said.
An expanded production facility in Irvine is scheduled to be in operation by summer 2024.
Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense... More by Sandra Erwin
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