NASA’s chief is coming to Seattle area for space summit

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will visit Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture in Kent, Wash., to get a firsthand look at the Seattle area’s growing space industry.

Tje Washington State Space Summit on July 5 will feature a trade show with nearly 20 regional space companies, plus a panel discussion that will focus on the economic opportunities opening up on the space frontier over the coming decade. The summit will be hosted by Sen. Maria Cantwell, the Washington Democrat who chairs the Senate committee that oversees NASA — and who played a leading role in passage of the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act last year.

“Washington’s space industry has doubled in just four years, a success story our whole state can be proud of,” Cantwell said today in a news release announcing the summit. “More than 13,000 Washingtonians work in this growing industry, which will help send the first American woman to the moon and the first person to Mars.”

Cantwell said Nelson “will see for himself what new investments in the state can deliver for the nation – from high-rate composite aircraft manufacturing to building new space stations.” Boeing has been pioneering aerospace applications for carbon composites at its aircraft manufacturing facilities in the Seattle area, while Blue Origin and Marysville, Wash.-based Gravitics are among regional companies working on commercial space stations.

Nelson said that “NASA’s work with Washington commercial space companies and academic institutions demonstrates the power of investing in America.”

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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