To meet customer demand, Apollo has partnered with a high-volume aerospace contract manufacturer based in Silicon Valley. Apollo’s manufacturing partner specializes in high reliability aerospace and defense products and has the capacity to produce hundreds of units per month to Apollo Fusion customer specifications.
Partnering allows Apollo to focus on our area of expertise: propulsion system design and operation. Apollo's manufacturing partner is known for delivering the highest-quality products, executing production at a large scale, and managing complex supply chains. Our manufacturing partner brings experience from other industries and customers so the industry good practice standards are always used. Our manufacturing partner's global revenue enables large capital expenditures – beyond those Apollo could afford alone – which improve quality. And because our manufacturing partner orders much higher volumes of many components (especially electronics) this reduces the cost of ACE.
Apollo's suppliers will manufacture ACE components and deliver them to Apollo's contract manufacturing partner who will complete in-bound acceptance testing. The manufacturing partner will inspect and clean incoming components, assemble all units to Apollo's standards, and deliver them after performing a suite of preliminary acceptance tests. Apollo will perform full acceptance testing on each assembled propulsion system and comprehensive function testing per customer specifications. The propulsion system will then be shipped to customers for satellite integration.
A review of critical components identified all components that posed an increased risk of failure, were difficult to manufacture or source, or were integral to thruster operation. These components were targeted for additional attention. Suppliers were selected for each component with QA processes forming an integral part of the selection process. Apollo's contract manufacturing partner also conducted their own QA assessment of each supplier, assessing our suppliers' quality processes, and ability to meet our supply requirements (volume and schedule).
Assembly will be completed at the contract manufacturing partner's Silicon Valley location. This will allow supervision and direct participation by Apollo's staff with embedded managers and regular visits by Apollo's engineering team to provide quality assurance.
Based on customer orders agreed to or in advanced stage of negotiations, Apollo expects to have our first thruster in flight operation in 2018; over 100 thrusters in flight operation by the end of 2019; and over 500 thrusters in flight operation by the end of 2020.