Millennium Space sees its future in government work
WASHINGTON — One year after it was acquired by Boeing, Millennium Space Systems is seeking to grow its government business and is especially enthusiastic about opportunities in NASA science missions, the company’s CEO said Oct. 8.
Stan Dubyn, CEO of Millennium Space Systems, said that being part of Boeing has been helpful in winning government contracts. Although it has dabbled in commercial work, the company now is entirely focused on government civil and national security space.
“We’ve dipped our toe in the water in commercial over the years,” Dubyn said during a conference call with a small group of reporters. “I don’t have any specific criticism other than I think commercial space and venture backed space is interesting, though I do not find it compelling,” he said.
Dubyn founded Millennium Space in 2001. He’s the former co-founder and COO of Spectrum Astro and president and COO of SpaceDev. Having worked in the space business for 41 years, he said, the industry is “more vibrant and more dynamic, and to a certain extent, more unstable than it’s ever been.”
Boeing officially took ownership of Millennium Space Sept. 25, 2018. Previously it was privately owned. It had some NASA contracts but its primary customer was the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The company is located literally across the street from SMC in El Segundo, California. It has a workforce of about 350 people.
Dubyn said Millennium Space currently has 15 satellite orders on its books, and seven spacecraft in various stages of integration. One of the them is the Wide Field of View (WFOV), a 1,000-kilogram geosynchronous satellite for the U.S. Air Force that is scheduled to launch in 2020. The WFOV will be used to advance research in space-based missile warning.
The company sees new opportunities in NASA space science and Earth science. “We have opened new doors” at NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said Dubyn.
In July, Millennium Space was selected to develop and manufacture two spacecraft for NASA’s Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (TRACERS) mission that will measure the dynamics of the magnetic field surrounding the Earth. TRACERS is the company’s first NASA science mission.
“We’re getting interest from more than just NASA and the [Science Mission Directorate] community,” said Dubyn. “Principal investigators are calling us and asking us to team with them to provide the capabilities they need.”
Dubyn said Millennium Space has been mischaracterized as a cubesat provider. “We build satellites of every size all the way to 3,000 [kilograms] or 4,000 [kilograms],” he said. Several opportunities the company is eyeing right now are for 100- to 200-kilogram satellites of the sort that can fly as secondary payloads on expendable rockets.