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Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing space and intelligence systems, showed off the factory where some of the nation’s most secretive spy satellites are built.

The facility, which began its life as a car factory, then an aircraft plant for legendary aviation pioneer Howard Hughes, now produces satellites for a variety of customers.

Its enormous equipment is designed to replicate the harsh space environment. Giant shake tables and sonic blasters ensure spacecraft can survive the rigors of being launched. A massive thermal vacuum chamber subjects them to temperatures ranging from plus or minus 125 degrees Celsius.

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Category: Science