Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. opened the door Jan. 25 on a new era of space programs by celebrating the completion of an advanced satellite manufacturing center that more than doubles current spacecraft production capability.
The 90,000-square-foot expansion is designed to accommodate larger and more sophisticated satellites and simultaneous spacecraft builds to fulfill new NASA and the Department of Defense contracts for space-related assets.
The $75 million capital investment includes expansion and improvements underway since 2005 at Ball’s Fisher Integration Facility, 1600 Commerce Street, Boulder, Colo., and comes on the heels of the opening of expanded facilities at the company’s manufacturing center in Westminster, Colo., in 2011.
“Ball Aerospace plays a vital role on many of our nation’s most critical programs and is committed to meeting customer mission needs for decades to come,” said David L. Taylor, Ball Aerospace president and CEO. “The expansion we proudly unveil today also affirms our commitment to growing Colorado’s dynamic aerospace economy.”
The larger aerospace manufacturing complex in Boulder includes a 60-percent increase in clean room space, state-of-the-art environmental testing systems, and build-out capacity for a larger thermal vacuum chamber to test spacecraft. These spacecraft include NASA’s Joint Polar Satellite System, the WorldView-3 remote-sensing satellite for DigitalGlobe, the Sentinel Mission for the B612 Foundation and multiple Department of Defense and national security missions. The new facilities enable Ball to provide the full range of manufacturing, assembly, integration and test capabilities needed to be the industry’s go-to partner for high-performance satellites and instruments.
Ball Aerospace has more than 2,800 employees and reported sales of $784 million in 2011. In the past five decades, the company’s strength has grown in several areas, including space science and exploration; space-based monitoring of the Earth’s weather and environment; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; supporting the military in creating an integrated battlespace; and building space superiority for the nation. Ball is also a leading provider of commercial remote-sensing satellites.