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04.30.2020 | News & Events

Fabricating Face Shields for Healthcare Workers at the Frontlines of COVID-19

By: Megan Fitzgerald, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Space Infrastructure, Maxar Technologies

Read Time: 3 minutes

As a leader in Space Infrastructure and Earth intelligence, we have a long history of building products that support humanitarian efforts and make the world a better place. And when COVID-19 cases began to rapidly spread across the country, we quickly stepped up to do our part in responding to the global pandemic. In addition to delivering high-resolution satellite imagery and geospatial tools that continue to arm decision makers with critical information to combat the pandemic, we also saw the dire need for personal protective equipment, so we decided to leverage our cutting-edge spacecraft manufacturing capabilities to make thousands of face shields for healthcare workers. Now these Maxar-made face shields are being donated to healthcare workers in the San Francisco Bay Area and Front Range of Colorado to protect their health and safety while they treat patients in medical, dental and senior care facilities.

Rob Singh, our Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Initiatives, saw the personal protective equipment shortage unfolding when his wife’s dental practice increased protective equipment requirements and wondered if Maxar’s space manufacturing capabilities could help. With the support and sponsorship of Maxar leadership, a plan began to emerge.

Emmeliah Obiri, our Co-Manager of CORE Engineering, assembled a team to determine where to focus efforts and begin work on initial prototypes. After considering the product requirements, as well as the need for a quick turnaround with limited on-site staff because of California’s shelter-at-home order, the team determined that building face shields was something that we could do quickly and reliably.

Looking for an open-source design, the team found a not-for-profit schematic created by Daniel Williams, who designs car interiors. The team then worked with an outside vendor to purchase and laser cut the visors using a sturdy, clear thermoplastic material called PETG. The head bands were cut using machines in our Palo Alto and San Jose campuses, and Maxar team members volunteered to assemble the face shields in their homes.

We have delivered 1,330 shields so far. Our first delivery went out on April 22 to Palo Alto Dental Wellness, and our second delivery on April 23 to Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center in Alameda County. Our goal is to manufacture, assemble and donate a total of 5,300 face shields.

Maxar is very proud to be helping to protect healthcare workers on the frontlines as they provide critical care in our local communities. We are in this together.

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