Washington’s space economy doubles its impact

newly published report says that the economic impact of Washington state’s space industry has more than doubled in just four years — and lays out strategies for keeping the growth curve climbing.

“Space is indeed the new frontier,” said Axel Strakeljahn, who’s president of the Port of Bremerton’s Board of Commissioners as well as chair of the Central Puget Sound Economic Development District Board.

The report, released today by the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Washington State Space Coalition, estimates the overall economic impact of the region’s core space economy at $4.6 billion annually, supporting a little more than 13,000 jobs.

That’s a significant jump over the figures laid out in the first assessment of the state’s space economy, published in 2018. Back then, the economic impact was pegged at $1.8 billion, with a labor force estimated at 6,200 employees.

The growth of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture is a big factor behind that upward curve: Four years ago, the Kent, Wash.-based company had a workforce of more than 1,500 employees — but the updated report uses a figure of 3,000, and the employment level is said to be even higher now.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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