For more than 100 years, the Puget Sound region has been known for its aerospace industry, largely thanks to The Boeing Company. Founded in Seattle in 1916, the company now employs approximately 70,000 people in Washington state, or roughly 45 percent of its global workforce, despite having relocated its headquarters to Chicago in 2001.

The sky is the limit when you think of our region’s aerospace economy. It’s even more promising when you consider a burgeoning sector of the industry — namely, companies focused on outer space — that increasingly plays a key role in our region’s economy and employment, with much of that impact being felt in the Puget Sound region and on the Eastside.

“Washington state and the central Puget Sound region are positioned to lead commercial space exploration and development,” noted Berk Consulting, a Seattle-based company commissioned by the Puget Sound Regional Council in 2018 to study the area’s burgeoning space economy. “Today, the region’s mix of high-tech manufacturing resources and information technology assets creates significant opportunities to compete in this growing sector.”

The 65-page report offers a comprehensive look into the space industry in Washington state. We combed this constellation of data to identify some of the highlights.

 

SOURCE: PUGET SOUND REGIONAL COUNCIL / WASHINGTON STATE SPACE ECONOMY REPORT (SEPT. 2018)

SPACE INDUSTRY ECONOMIC IMPACTS — PRESENT AND FUTURE

In 2018, space companies contributed $1.8 billion to Washington state’s economy, supporting 2,900 direct jobs and 6,200 total jobs. These companies contributed $43 million in state taxes, and $22 million in local (county, city, and special districts) taxes.

 

In the Puget Sound region, 2.13 jobs are created for each job in the space industry. Every dollar spent in the space industry generates $1.51 of regional economic activity.

SOURCE: PUGET SOUND REGIONAL COUNCIL / WASHINGTON STATE SPACE ECONOMY REPORT (SEPT. 2018)

EASTSIDE SPACE INDUSTRY COMPANIES

King County is home to the largest concentration of space-related businesses in Washington state. Many of these companies operate offices as well as research and manufacturing facilities on the Eastside. Here are three notable businesses.

Electroimpact 

A Mukilteo-based aerospace component and tooling manufacturer founded in 1986, Electroimpact designs and manufactures space and satellite components such as panels, specialized lifting equipment, trailers, and transporters.

Planetary Resources 

Founded a decade ago as Arkyd Astronautics, this Redmond-based company aims to identify, extract, and refine resources such as water and precious metals from near-Earth asteroids.

Tethers Unlimited 

Founded in 1994, this Bothell-based company manufactures and develops advanced technologies that serve the rapidly growing small satellite industry and the emerging field of in-space manufacturing that, in the end, foster the future development of a space-faring society.