C4ISR

Boeing to begin producing all-electric satellites

Boeing Co. announced on Aug. 6 that its all-electric satellite is headed for the assembly line after completing a design review. The first launch of Boeing’s 702 Small Platform satellite is scheduled for early 2015.

The aerospace giant said the three- and eight-kilowatt versions of the 702SP passed “critical design review,” a milestone that must be met before assembly, integration and testing can begin. The review validated that the satellites will meet customer requirements.

So far, customers for the all-electric satellite are commercial satellite service providers. But Boeing is also working with the U.S. Air Force to leverage the satellite technology to reduce the overall cost of military satellites.

All-electric propulsion reduces the overall mass of a spacecraft, helping to reduce satellite weight and cost while increasing the size of potential payloads. Boeing said its approach also speeds assembly and system integration compared to conventional satellites.

Boeing introduced the 702SP in March 2012. The first two of four satellites on order are scheduled to be launched during the first quarter of 2015 aboard a Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX.

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