The Institute of Navigation Southern California Section October 20 meeting was hosted by Boeing Space Systems and held in the Boeing Seal Beach Complex, Building 86. The meeting was well attended even though freeways were flooded and a large amount of rain was falling. Mr. Frank Czopek, GPS Block II/IIA Satellite Program Manager, presented an historical overview of the GPS satellite program at Seal Beach and showed slides of the manufacturing floor facilities in its heyday.
After his very interesting presentation Frank led a walking tour of the facilities highlighting the immense Thermo-Vac Chambers, Spin table, and Manufacturing room area. He described what the areas were like during the 3 shift GPS SV manufacturing schedule and also discussed a little known incident by eco-terrorists that resulted in actual damage to a space vehicle, the infamous ax incident where a space vehicle was attacked and damaged with an ax.
The tour ended with a viewing of a glass encased chrome plated shovel, the shovel that Werner Von Braun used to dedicate the facility for the Saturn Project in 1966. The property used for manufacture of the Block I, II and IIA satellites is designated to be sold later this year as it is surplus to Boeing’s needs. The meeting attendees grouped around the Navstar Monument for a photograph at the end of the meeting. The monument depicts each satellite manufactured in the facilities and when it was launched.