Pontifications: Legislature weighs overdue actions for aerospace

March 1, 2021, © Leeham News: Two bills before the Washington State Legislature intend to create long-term strategic plans to grow the state’s advanced manufacturing sector in general – and the space industry in particular.

By Bryan Corliss

To this we say yes, hell yes and amen.

North America’s largest aerospace cluster has lurched from crisis to crisis over the past 20 years, with elected officials scrambling to meet Boeing’s demands for tax, workforce and labor concessions.

And – much to our dismay – for most of the past two decades, leadership in the state Capitol of Olympia has been content to cobble together ad hoc responses with only the faintest lip service toward any kind of long-range strategic planning for future industry needs.

These bills – Substitute House Bill 1170 and Substitute House Bill 1190 – have the potential to change all of that.

  • Bills contain a lot of what we’ve long advocated
  • Manufacturing bill sets ambitious goals for state
  • Space bill seeks to boost – and capture – fast-growing sector
  • Taxes aren’t on the table — yet
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Is Blue Origin making the 737 of spaceflight?

By Dan Catchpole


This article has been updated to correct an error that misstated the relative size of New Glenn’s payload.

Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith at the AFA 2018 summit. (Photo by Dan Catchpole)

October 11, 2018, © Leeham News: Wednesday’s announcement that the U.S. Air Force had selected Blue Origin along with Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance to develop launch system prototypes was welcomed news for the Jeff Bezos-backed company. The Air Force has committed about $500 million through 2024 for Blue Origin’s contract to develop its New Glenn rocket, which will be able to haul 50-ton payloads to low Earth orbit and 13-ton loads to geosynchronous orbit.

Nonetheless, the company’s “entire fundamental business model is based around commercial launches,” Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said at the Aerospace Futures Alliance’s annual summit in Lynnwood, WA.

Smith said New Glenn is expected to launch in 2021. As recently as this summer, company executives had said first launch is slated for late 2020. 

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