State-to-State Battle: A coast-to-coast fight to bring space employment back home

To persuade space industries to relocate, cities, counties, and states give grants, tax incentives, facilities, land, and worker training. “California will always and forever be the world’s startup capital because of the venture capital ecosystem,” said Sean Casey, former managing director of the Silicon Valley Space Center as well as the New York Space Alliance’s co-founder. “Based on Silicon Valley, you’ll always attract them in, but can you keep them?”

The answer is no in a lot of circumstances. Companies are leaving California to create offices and manufacturing facilities in states where engineering expertise is plentiful, government customers are close by, and the cost of living is lower.

California, like Alabama, Texas, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Virginia, benefits from the US government’s massive space infrastructure as well as the tens of billions of dollars in the federal monies that pour into space initiatives. California, unlike the other states, doesn’t possess a state commission that supports the industry.

California Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, who serves as the chairperson of the Select Committee on Aerospace, stated, “California’s aerospace industry has a gross domestic product that exceeds that of the state’s film and television and agricultural industries combined, but it does not have a state commission like other major industries in the state.”

Other countries have devised space policies that take advantage of their advantages. Space Florida welcomes new businesses with financial packages suited to their specific needs, as well as facilities near NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral.

Blue Origin and SpaceX are building and deploying rockets in Texas, which has less regulations, more generous relocation incentives, as well as a cheaper living cost than California, where the SpaceX company is based, or Washington, where the Blue Origin firm is situated.

As part of a drive to underscore the critical role 5G networks are going to play in linking autonomous vehicles made by state automakers, the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association seeks to attract firms creating space and terrestrial technology for the 5G communications networks.

The New York Space Alliance considers the financial sector of the state to be a valuable resource. “How space is funded is the existential question,” stated Joseph Fargnoli, the New York Space Alliance’s co-founder. “We aim to educate New York’s institutional investors about the new space economy.”

Many state and local groups pursuing space companies place a strong emphasis on education. Citizens highlight the importance of space enterprises in local economies as well as the high pay that come with space jobs by meeting with elected authorities. States boast their educated manpower, top-notch infrastructure, and distinctive qualities in colorful brochures for corporations considering a relocation.

Before ceasing operations in 2011, the California Space Authority fulfilled a similar role. The California legislature is considering establishing a California Aerospace Commission.

By email, Muratsuchi, the bill’s author and lead sponsor, said, “California needs to sustain its competitive edge in the face of rising competition from the other states, transformations in the industry, and evolving aerospace priorities.”

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