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NewSpace puts Seattle at center of the universe

Seattle and stars
“The sky’s the limit” for space ventures, according to the head of Washington state’s Office of Aerospace. This composite photo sets Seattle’s Space Needle against a field of stars. For more of photographer Mikul Eriksson’s work, visit MikulEriksson.com or click on the image.

There’s a neighborhood in Seattle that jokingly calls itself “the center of the universe,” but this week the title is no joke – at least when it comes to the entrepreneurial side of the space industry. The Space Frontier Foundation’sNewSpace 2016 conference is making it so.

The annual conference has been traditionally been held in California’s Silicon Valley. But from now on, the Space Frontier Foundation plans to bring the show to Seattle every other year. “If you guys mess it up, well, we’ll never come back,” Jeff Feige, the foundation’s chairman, told a group of Seattle space enthusiasts during a recent preview of the meeting.

John Thornquist, the director of Washington state’s Office of Aerospace, says no one will mess it up.

“Because of our burgeoning space community here, it makes sense to have it up here – and we look forward to having it in the years to come,” he told GeekWire. “I think it’s appropriate to recognize the state of Washington as a space hub on the West Coast because of the commercial work that we’re doing.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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