Orbital ATK Expands Aerospace Engineering Operations in Gilbert, Plans to Hire 155

Original Article via Phoenix Business Journal

Orbital ATK Inc. officially opened its satellite engineering building today in Gilbert, part of the 60,000-square-foot expansion of its satellite manufacturing campus.

The new building has engineering design and manufacturing co-located into one, giving Orbital employees a quick walk next door to the Orbital factory where satellites have been manufactured since 2004, said Rick Kettner, Orbital ATK’s Gilbert site director.

“Space has become sexy again,” Kettner said. “We expect to see sustained growth in Gilbert through 2020.”

The Orbital satellite manufacturing facility is one of the largest and most advanced spacecraft assembly and test facilities in the U.S.

Orbital has a five-year plan in Gilbert to hire 155 engineers and scientists, including mechanical, electrical and software engineers.

About 20 positions are available now with competitive salaries, he said.

Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA) has about 350 employees in Gilbert, and over 1,953 employees in Arizona with offices also in Chandler and Mesa. The Chandler office works with Orbital’s flight systems group, while the Mesa office handles the defense systems group.

Before the building opened last week, Orbital employees had to drive about three and a half miles from the nearest office to collaborate with the satellite facility’s engineering and manufacturing teams.

The factory’s workers build five satellites a month, and the factory has employees working 24/7.

“Arizona is one of the biggest footprints for Orbital,” Kettner said. “We have a steady base of NASA and Department of Defense business.”

This building services Orbital’s space systems group, featuring collaborative workspaces with write-on walls to encourage team work and innovation, an exercise room, cubicle offices and a graphics room with a 3-D printer.

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels said it’s exciting to see what this project has become.

“We’re so grateful Orbital chose to expand in our town,” Daniels said. “This company has also truly been a model with how it supports local STEM programs. We look forward to great work in the future.”

Mesquite High School is next door to Orbital’s campus, and the company also works with many Arizona State University interns.

The Gilbert expansion was completed in 16 months and complements Arizona’s aerospace and defense industry. It’s a sector that contributes $38 billion annually to the state’s economy and employs more than 52,000 workers, said Keith Watkins, the senior vice president of the Arizona Commerce Authority’s economic and rural development division.

“Orbital’s work signals our state is a magnet to this industry,” Watkins said.

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