Inside the World's Largest Satellite Factory

Satellites built at the Boeing Space Center in El Segundo are about to make an “out of this world” journey. 

From the first satellite to carry a TV signal to the GPS satellites that help guide you home. They were all designed and built here, inside the world’s largest Satellite factory.

The factory is operated by Boeing here in El Segundo, these new state-of-the-art — first of their kind — satellites behind me are about to make even more history, all thanks to the hard work of Southern Californians.

Boeing is showing off their new high-tech O3b mPOWER satellite that will soon help connect the planet.

“You know, you don’t see satellites once they’re in space. You use them all the time, but you don’t really know that they’re there,” Ryan Reid, president of Boeing Satellite Systems International, said.

Several years ago, the network company SES came to Boeing with the goal of bringing broadband connectivity to most of the world. 

The result was the most flexible satellite Boeing has ever created, the O3b mPOWER, with thousands of beams capable of being pointed at any direction. 

“Kind of think of it like your old cell phone or the phone attached to the wall now going to an iPhone,” Reid said.

The O3b mPOWER will be part of an initial constellation that will carry communications to even the planet’s most remote spots, including cruise lines and oil rigs, or areas impacted by natural disaster.

“That initial deployment will take 6 satellites and those 6 satellites will blanket almost the entirety of the globe, almost the entire human population, and will provide the same kind of network latency that you would get with a fiber connection at your house,” Reid said.

Before they get to space, each satellite is tested rigorously to make sure they’ll survive take-off and the harsh environment in space.

And once they’re ready, they’re stacked together in pairs and flown to Florida for the launch.

That’s what happened last week when the men and women of Southern California, who work so hard on this incredible technology, got to see the first pair shipped off.

“It was really exciting to see people bring their kids, bring their husbands and wives, bringing their parents to show them the work that they do, there’s an immense amount of pride here,” Reid said.

The first two satellites getting ready to launch into space are already in Cape Canaveral, Florida. They’re tentatively scheduled to launch next week. Two of the satellites here behind us will soon follow them into space.