Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

New commercial space facility open for business

Posted: February 15, 2001

An artist's impression of SpaceDev's asteroid explorer spacecraft. Photo: SpaceDev
SpaceDev has completed construction of its satellite manufacturing facility in San Diego, bringing the commercial space company another step closer to achieving the goal of providing low-cost missions for both Earth orbit and deep-space destinations.

The California-based group announced this week that the complex is completed and that it is open for business. Inside the Satellite Assembly and Test (SAT) facility is 1,800 square feet of pristine clean room space and sufficient room for up to eight small spacecraft to be assembled and checked out at once. That same space could also accommodate up to sixteen SpaceDev orbital transfer vehicles, which can be attached to payloads to provide the ability to perform major orbital changes to simple attitude control.

"We're very happy to dedicate and open this important facility that enables full end-to-end flight system development capability at SpaceDev," said Stan Dubyn, SpaceDev's president and chief operating officer. "We're indebted to the State of California for their confidence in us, and I know our customers and shareholders will be as pleased as we are with this new manufacturing capacity."

"This event is a unique opportunity to celebrate the valuable contribution SpaceDev has made to space exploration and the development of new space technology. I applaud the staff and supporters of SpaceDev for their visionary ideas and commitment to professional excellence," California Governor Gray Davis wrote in a congratulatory letter to SpaceDev.

The SAT building will have provisions for assembly and testing for SpaceDev missions of all types.

The first mission to utilize the new SAT facility will be CHIPSat, a small satellite being built by SpaceDev for the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. The mission is the first to launch under NASA's University-Class Explorer program. The $17 million mission is due for launch in March 2002 as a secondary payload on a Delta 2 rocket.

SpaceDev has also received several other study and design contracts since its inception in 1997, with one leading to the redesign of a proposed asteroid explorer mission that could be carried out for possibly less than $100 million.