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In Seattle, space sisterhood is powerful

SpaceFest panel
SpaceX’s Aarti Matthews, Blue Origin’s Erika Wagner and Vulcan Aerospace’s Cassie Lee field questions at the Museum of Flight’s SpaceFest. (GeekWire photo by Alan Boyle)

The billionaires who run Blue Origin and SpaceX – Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk – may be locked in an outer-space rivalry, but the engineers who get the job done say they’re rooting for each other.

Erika Wagner, Blue Origin’s business development manager, says engineers at the company’s headquarters in Kent, Wash., cheer every time they see SpaceX launch and land a rocket. And Aarti Matthews, a mission manager at SpaceX in the Los Angeles area, says the feeling is mutual.

“We’re really excited for each other, because we’re changing the industry together,” Matthews said last weekend at the Museum of Flight’s annual SpaceFest gathering in Seattle.

One of those changes is the growing prominence of women in the commercial space industry. That was reflected in the title of this year’s SpaceFest: “Ladies Who Launch.”

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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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