The Eastside is making it easier for space industry leaders to shoot for the moon. The demand for rocket and satellite components continues to increase, spurring manufacturers to up their production capacity and headcounts. Space industry influencers particularly like the Eastside for its industrial and utilities infrastructure that allow them to utilize their specialized equipment more easily. The region’s focus on growing the local transportation network, as well as providing better housing, is an additional plus.
Redmond leads the way in offering a business-friendly launch pad for space startups and manufacturers. Mayor Angela Birney has proclaimed the entire city the “Redmond Space District,” a nod to the ecosystem of innovation, technology, knowledge and people that are driving space ventures.
Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond is one example of a space industry giant that is expanding its capability to provide propulsion systems. With the United States’ next staffed moon mission in their sights, a company spokesperson said the company, which occupies around 200,000 square feet of space, will double two of its manufacturing areas. The company’s workforce increased by 75 jobs in the past 10 months, bringing it to 465 at the end of September, and it expects to fill another 40 open positions soon.
In addition to Eastside growth in the satellite and rocket manufacturing space, the area is ripe for space services, including launch management and satellite ground networks. Case in point, Amazon.com Inc.’s Project Kuiper, an initiative that seeks to increase global broadband access to unserved and underserved communities around the world through a constellation of 3,236 satellites.
Project Kuiper will start production of its first satellites at its new 175,000-square-foot Kirkland facility by the end of the year, expecting to manufacture four satellites a day. Two of the prototypes, which were built in Redmond, launched in October, and Project Kuiper hopes to launch the first constellation satellites before the new year.
Until recently SpaceX was the area’s major player in the industry, producing satellites at its Redmond headquarters for the Starlink global network. Now, with Kuiper, Kymeta, Microsoft’s Azure Orbital, Xplore, Honeywell Aerospace, RBC Signals, Spectralux and Triumph with Eastside addresses, the area is poised to be a hot spot for the many reaches of this fast-growing industry.