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Satellite maker Terran Orbital plans major plant in Florida

A illustration depicts a small satellite in space as built by California-based Terran Orbital. Image courtesy of NASA
A illustration depicts a small satellite in space as built by California-based Terran Orbital. Image courtesy of NASA

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Small-satellite maker Terran Orbital plans to build a large manufacturing plant with more than 2,000 employees near Kennedy Space Center's former space shuttle landing strip, the company and Florida officials announced Monday.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company would manufacture fleets of so-called CubeSats, or spacecraft the size of a shoebox, at the 660,000-square-foot plant, Marc Bell, the Terran chairman and CEO, said during a press conference at the space center.

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"We design, we engineer, we manufacture and we operate satellites for a broad range of customers," Bell said.

The facility would be the world's largest satellite manufacturing plant, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during the conference.

The plant would provide a $300 million jolt to the regional economy, with average wages of $84,000 a year by 2025, DeSantis said.

Space Florida will help arrange financing for the company's expansion, but the amount will not be disclosed. Otherwise, the company will seeking grants from the state Department of Transportation to build some of the new plant's infrastructure, according to Space Florida.

Terran specializes in small satellites with remote sensors, like radar, to image activity on Earth's surface. Subsidiaries include PredaSAR and Tyvak, the latter of which has launched more than 220 small satellites for government and commercial customers.

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Bell, a financier and venture capitalist from Boca Raton, Fla., founded Terran in 2013. Investors have included Lockheed Martin and Goldman Sachs, according to a 2018 disclosure.

The company will join other space companies that have build facilities near the space center in recent years, including Blue Origin, OneWeb Satellites and SpaceX.

Out-of-this-world images from space

This composite image made from six frames shows the International Space Station, with a crew of seven aboard, in silhouette as it transits the sun at roughly 5 miles per second on April 23, 2021, as seen from Nottingham, Md. Aboard are: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Mark Vande Hei; Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy, Pyotr Dubrov; and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Joining the crew aboard station the next day were Crew-2 mission crew members: Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA | License Photo

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