RUAG Space USA opened its facility at the Port Canaveral Logistics Center in Titusville Tuesday morning with a panel signing ceremony and tour of the facility. Video by Malcolm Denemark
"I'm really looking forward to the boxes piling up in front of the door," ready for shipment, said Mouriaux, who is the Swiss-based company's general manager for structures.
Officials at RUAG and its satellite-making customer, OneWeb, on Tuesday celebrated the completion of the construction at RUAG's Titusville plant, joined by about 100 community leaders and space-industry officials for a presentation and plant tour.
Production of satellite structures is set to begin at the RUAG plant at the Port Canaveral Logistics Center off U.S. 1 in south Titusville.
Mouriaux said the RUAG plant initially will have about 10 employees. But that will ramp up to 40 to 50 in four to five years, as RUAG reaches deals with other customers for its space satellite hardware.
Greg Wyler, founder and executive chairman of OneWeb, said OneWeb will have about 250 employees there when its satellite production begins. Counting subcontractors like RUAG, Wyler said the OneWeb project will generate up to 625 jobs for the region.
OneWeb Satellites plans to manufacture 900 satellites that will be launched into low-Earth orbit. These satellites will offer broadband internet service worldwide, in a project aimed at helping people in developing and newly industrialized nations who do not have access to fast internet service.
RUAG plans to deliver structures for 900 satellites by the end of 2020.
A who's-who of state and local government and economic development leaders came to the RUAG plant to celebrate the new jobs for North Brevard County.
"This is an exciting day for our Space Coast community," said Florida Sen. Dorothy Hukill, whose district includes Titusville.
Brevard's other state senator, Debbie Mayfield, also was in attendance, along with District 1 Brevard County Commissioner Rita Pritchett, Titusville Mayor Walt Johnson, Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray, Port Authority Vice Chair Wayne Justice and Port Authority Secretary/Treasurer Jerry Allender. State officials in attendance included Cissy Proctor, executive director of Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity, and Frank DiBello, president and CEO of Space Florida.
Pritchett said the presence of a company like RUAG in Titusville will help make the community "more competitive and attractive in the international marketplace."
She added that North Brevard is "hungry for space and innovation and technology.'
Proctor said the addition of companies like OneWeb and RUAG to the Space Coast "contribute to diversifying the state's economy."
In his remarks, Johnson told OneWeb and RUAG officials: "We look forward to seeing you prosper and grow."
RUAG Space CEO Peter Guggenbach said the Titusville plant fits in with his company's strategy of growing its U.S. business, making component products for the space industry and keeping production costs low through the latest technology, including a new robotic machine.
"This facility reflects RUAG's readiness to meet the needs of our customers," Guggenbach said. "Manufacturing structures for up to three satellites per day is a first for our industry and represents unparalleled speed. It also shows that we are willing to invest if we strongly believe in a project, along with that region. We are proud to be represented in Florida as of now."
Wyler said OneWeb and RUAG "are reinventing satellite manufacturing processes to support the world's first high-volume satellite manufacturing center. This is another tangible step towards bridging the global digital divide."
He said OneWeb is aiming to reduce the cost of satellite production to $500,000 per satellite and reduce production time to eight hours.
Wyler said RUAG's new space structures facility "will build products that impact the world, while also creating jobs and economic opportunity for Florida."
As part of the celebration on Tuesday, participants did something different than a traditional ribbon-cutting. Instead, they held a ceremonial signing of the first satellite component made at the RUAG plant.
RUAG is the first tenant of the 246,240-square-foot Port Canaveral Logistics Center at 7700 U.S. 1, which the port acquired from Flagler Global Logistics in May 2016 for about $18 million.
The port initially had planned to lease the building from Flagler, which developed the site. But port commissioners decided it would make more financial sense to buy the building outright.
Murray, the port's CEO, said he anticipates that there will be more tenants announced by this fall.
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