A journey with Space Northwest through a year of creating connections in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Evolutionary leaps, the truly transformative ones, are all about connection. Single-celled organisms evolved to form multicellular ones. Multicellular organisms evolved to form groups with capabilities far beyond their individual members.
We stand on the cusp of a new leap — the extension of life into the Solar System — and connection is driving it. This is how we evolve; this is how we grow. This is why Space Northwest exists.
Space Northwest seeks to maximize the contribution of the Pacific Northwest to humanity’s future in space. Our story itself is one of connection. We formed in 2022, bringing together long-running programs to develop the space ecosystem in the Seattle area. We set our sights on building further connections, both within and beyond the region. As we celebrate one year of Space Northwest, we wanted to share how we’ve been doing that.
Our longest running program, Space Entrepreneurs, takes a local focus. In June, we hosted Stoke Space COO Kelly Hennig at Green River College in Kent. Kelly spoke to a crowd of over 60 people about her space career and life in a fast-growing startup. Understanding the power of connection, Kelly emphasized the importance of preserving culture and cohesion as startups scale up.
Our monthly Space Data Hackers virtual meetup brings together experts from the leading edge of space and data. We’ve featured speakers from Amazon Web Services, precursor.spc, The Mars Society and SatGPT. Space Data Hackers participants hail from across the country and around the globe — from Portland, Maine as well as Portland, Oregon; from Washington, D.C. as well as Washington State — and as far away as Taiwan and Israel.
In 2023, Space Northwest took on new programs with national and international reach. In April, we partnered with OneRedmond and the City of Kent on the regional workshop for the State of the Space Industrial Base (SSIB) conference. A program of NewSpace Nexus, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), U.S. Space Force and the Air Force Research Lab, the workshop gathered experts from nearby and across the country on the topics of Hybrid Space Architecture and Advanced Power and Propulsion. Held at the Museum of Flight, the event featured an intro from Brigadier General Steve “Bucky” Butow, space portfolio pirector of DIU, and a keynote from Rob Meyerson of Delalune Space. Participants identified opportunities and challenges for government stakeholders to address in each topic area. Space Northwest presented the results at SSIB’s national conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in May. Findings will be published in a widely-read white paper in September.
Reaching even further beyond the region, in April, Space Northwest held our first Connecting Space Ecosystems virtual event with Aerospace Auckland of New Zealand.
Leaders from both regions presented to a group of 30 professionals from Auckland and Seattle, on the unique aspects of their respective ecosystems, followed by breakout discussions and networking.
The region’s space ecosystem was in focus for an international audience again in May with the Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE). ACE catalyzes economic links across the Americas with support from the U.S. Department of State in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Space Northwest partnered with the Puget Sound Regional Council, in collaboration with Kent Valley Economic Development, to convene a panel on Washington’s space economy. An audience of more than 70 high-level dignitaries learned about our region’s strengths from executives from Rocket Propulsion Systems, Starfish Space, Stoke Space, LeoStella, and Multi-Axis Technologies.
In June, Space Northwest hosted a two-day workshop with Dr. Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society, on the formation of a Mars Technology Institute. Space Northwest convened local experts to highlight the region’s advantages for the initiative. As a result, The Mars Society has decided to locate the Institute in the Seattle area. The Institute will drive innovation in biotech and other disciplines that enable the settlement of Mars.
The story of space in the Pacific Northwest needs to be told in many ways, for many audiences. To foster this, Space Northwest supported a private event at the Museum of Flight to introduce a soon-to-be-filmed documentary profiling the legacy and present-day activities of Washington’s space ecosystem. The event brought together industry leaders, scientists, elected officials, and more to meet with the filmmakers, connect with each other, and learn about getting involved and supporting the film. Principal filming is tentatively scheduled to begin this fall.
Space Northwest is also thrilled to have been part of the Redmond Space District naming event in April and the Washington State Summit with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Senator Maria Cantwell, hosted at Blue Origin in July. And each month, we see how strong our community is growing at the Space Industry Happy Hour.