Boeing is introducing a new “pulse line” at its manufacturing plant in El Segundo, Calif., to assemble satellites more efficiently, thereby resulting in faster build times and reduced costs, the company announced Aug. 11. The first satellite that will be built under this process is the GPS Block IIF space vehicle for the Air Force, but all of the company’s satellite production lines will adopt the pulse line over time. “With 12 [Block IIF] satellites on order, the GPS program is ideal for a manufacturing pulse line, because similar satellites can easily adapt to a process that mirrors mass production,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. The pulse line is intended to eliminate rework, allowing parts to flow continuously and smoothly through 13 line positions.
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.