York to quadruple smallsat manufacturing capacity with new facility

SAN FRANCISCO – York Space Systems announced plans May 18 to establish a “mega manufacturing facility” in Denver to quadruple the number of small satellites in production at once.

In the new facility, York will be able to produce as many as 80 satellites simultaneously, compared with York’s current production plant where employees can build 20 satellites at a time, York CEO Dirk Wallinger told SpaceNews.

York also is seeking to speed satellite production. In the new facility, York plans to produce its original S-class satellite and its new LX-class satellite in as little as 30 days after contracts are awarded.

“We’re seeing that timelines are becoming more and more important to customers,” Wallinger said. “The facility will help us produce platforms, test them and get them delivered quickly. There’s a lot of interest from our customers in that capability.”

York’s new facility also will enable the firm to expand its classified satellite design and integration work, Wallinger said.

York’s new three-story “mega facility” will be the company’s third building. The first floor will be a system integration bay. Component subsystem manufacturing will occur on the second floor. The top floor will be dedicated to “engineering excellence,” the company said in a May 18 news release.

Since it was founded in 2005, York has expanded production capacity to meet demand.

In its first building, York could produce two to four satellites at a time. The company then moved into a much larger facility where it could build 20 satellites at once.

The new “mega facility” is designed to handle surges in demand, particularly for customers establishing and operating satellite constellations.

“They want to know that we have the capability to speed up to meet demand immediately,” Wallinger said.

Charles Beames, York executive chairman and SmallSat Alliance chairman, said in a statement, that military tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance “needs will increasingly be met with low-cost satellites to ensure the same global reach without violating sovereign airspace. Our capital investments here in Denver are made to meet the strong demand we see worldwide.”

York is building communications satellites for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency under a $94 million contract awarded in 2020.

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