Terran Orbital Merritt Island FL Campus Aerial Render (Source: Terran Orbital PR)

Terran Orbital building $300M satellite factory in Florida

Privately-held and usually under-the-radar Terran Orbital made a big splash this week by announcing the construction of a huge satellite factory complex in Florida.  Terran will invest $300 million to build a 660,000 square foot facility that is expected to great around 2,100 new jobs, making the company a darling of local and state officials.

“I am excited to announce that Terran Orbital will be investing $300 million in the Space Coast to build the largest satellite manufacturing facility in the world,” said Governor DeSantis. “Satellite manufacturing is and will continue to be an important part of the economy in the Space Coast, and with this announcement we are upping the ante. In Florida we are going to continue to take the lead on space by investing in infrastructure, training highly skilled workers and maintaining an economic climate that allows companies like Terran Orbital to thrive. I congratulate them on a great decision to come to Florida.”

The “Industry 4.0” space vehicle manufacturing facility being built at the Launch and Landing Facility (LLF) on Merritt Island, Florida will consist of ten automated and augmented hangers capable of producing “thousands of different types of space vehicles per year,” according to the company’s press release.  It will include a campus-based AI controlled supply chain, 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies, as well as capabilities to produce and fabricate the highest quality, technologically advanced, printed circuit board assembly with extensive electronic storage vaults.

“We are pleased to partner with Space Florida to build a facility that we view as a national asset: a commercially funded contribution to our nation’s space industrial base.” said Marc Bell, co-founder and chief executive officer of Terran Orbital.  “Not only will we be able to expand our production capabilities to meet the growing demand for our products, but we will also bring valuable space vehicle manufacturing opportunities and capabilities to the State of Florida, investing over $300 million in new construction and equipment. By the end of 2025, we’re going to create approximately 2,100 new jobs with an average wage of $84,000.” 

Terran Orbital has been quietly building satellites for a variety of U.S. government customers as well as commercial customers.  It also manufactures larger cubesats for Lockheed Martin’s defense customer needs and the dual-use PredaSAR synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, with the first expected to be launched in the near future.

Florida is now home to numerous aerospace manufacturing facilities built in the post-Space Shuttle era.  Blue Origin is building the New Glenn rocket, OneWeb Satellite is building OneWeb’s broadband satellites, and Boeing is building and maintaining its Starliner crew capsule within the area, just to name a few examples.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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