When mankind is set to explore Mars and the Moon in the future, the Washington state space industry will play a big role, while potentially generating astronomical dollars in economic impact.
According to the Puget Sound Regional Council, the State of Washington’s space industry has an economic impact of $4.6 billion annually and supports 13,103 jobs within the state.
The industry is continuing to grow in the state as there are more than 1,000 open space industry jobs in the Seattle area, as of May 2023.
“We can see here today that many companies in the State of Washington are providing growth and opportunity for space jobs,” U.S. Senator and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said in a statement. “[Washington’s space industry] is providing a booming economy, and it has helped maintain America's position of leadership in space exploration.”
The state is considered to be well-positioned to lead in satellite manufacturing and operations, launch vehicles, and commercial space stations, with Washington companies expected to help place the U.S. on stronger footing to go to Mars and return to the Moon.
Equipment used during future space exploration will stem from Washington. For instance, NASA’s Artemis program to return to the Moon has 42 suppliers in Washington state. Three years ago, Blue Origin opened the O’Neill Building in the City of Kent.
In May 2023, NASA selected Blue Origin as the second builder of a human landing system for the Artemis program. The contract is projected to support more than 1,000 jobs in the state, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
The next Artemis mission is scheduled to launch in November 2024. The flight will send a crew of four astronauts around the Moon. Following that, the Artemis III mission is scheduled for December 2025, in which humans will land on the lunar surface for the first time in over 50 years.
SpaceX has also leased a 125,000 square foot building in Redmond, WA to expand its Starlink facilities. According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, SpaceX builds more than 30 Starlink satellites per week at the facility.
The company estimates that over 180,000 people in Washington rely on Starlink for high-speed broadband access.
The investment banking companies UBS and Morgan Stanley estimated that the value of the space economy could reach $900 billion to $1.1 trillion by 2040. The estimations are linked to a substantial increase in satellite broadband internet service providers, which are expected to dominate space-related services over the next 20 years.