True Anomaly opens satellite manufacturing plant in south-Denver area

A company focused on providing security for space operations crucial to the nation’s economy and defense has opened a manufacturing plant in Centennial and has received authorizations from two federal agencies to help carry out its work.

True Anomaly Inc. recently started operations at its 35,000-square-foot facility named GravityWorks. An assembly-line approach to manufacturing satellites will enable the company to produce a fully tested, mission-ready satellite every five days, said Even Rogers, CEO and co-founder.

“We’ve already started building the first two spacecraft. We’ll start building the third and fourth soon,” Rogers said.

The first two spacecraft, named Jackal, are scheduled to launch in February on a SpaceX mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Rogers served in the Air Force as a space operations officer and was with the Joint Task Force-Space Defense with U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs.

“My military background really gave me the exposure to the ideas that are the basis of True Anomaly today,” Rogers said.

The Jackal spacecraft, which the company refers to as an autonomous orbital vehicle, is designed to provide security for other spacecraft.

“The space domain has become a contested, congested environment,” Rogers said.

Space is also an environment where “a massive amount” of economic and diplomatic activity is centered, but critical infrastructure is undefended, he added.

As a result, such space-centered activities as weather observations, communications, the Global Positioning System and missile warnings are put at risk, Rogers said. True Anomaly’s focus is creating the technology to protect that infrastructure.

The company’s satellites are designed to rendezvous with and work in proximity to other spacecraft and carry out training and reconnaissance missions.

Besides the opening of the manufacturing plant, another milestone for the new company was getting authorization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to take non-Earth-related images. The remote sensing will include radar, shortwave infrared, longwave infrared  and visible wide and narrow field of view imagery.

True Anomaly also received authorization from the Federal Communications Commission for on-the-ground testing of Jackal transmitters and to demonstrate spacecraft-to-spacecraft rendezvous in orbit.

The Jackal is roughly the size of two side-by-side mini refrigerators and weighs 600 pounds.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced in April that True Anomaly would expand its operations by opening an office in Centennial. Rogers said the company considered expanding to other states.

“Colorado was the right fit for us from the standpoint of workforce, access to the supply chain and access to infrastructure,” Rogers said.

There are about 290 companies and more than 500 space-related businesses in Colorado, according to a report by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and the Colorado Space Coalition. Colorado’s aerospace industry is second in size only to California’s and has the country’s highest concentration of private aerospace employees.

True Anomaly’s office is in Rep. Jason’s Crow district. The Democrat said in a statement that the state’s “rich aerospace history, deep talent pool, and strong ecosystem of commercial, civil, and military space organizations makes it an ideal location for innovative space companies to thrive.”

About 90 people work for True Anomaly, which expects to grow its workforce. “We have pretty ambitious expansion plans,” Rogers said.

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