Monday, July 15, 2024

Could Utah become a major player in the space industry? – Deseret News

Utah’s Growing Role in the Space Industry – An Overview of the State’s Contributions and Future Prospects

Utah’s Rise in the Space Industry: A Closer Look at Dugway, Northrop Grumman, and RAM Aviation

In the realm of space exploration, names like Houston and Cape Canaveral are well-known hubs for space missions and activities. However, a lesser-known location in Utah’s west desert, the Defense Department’s Dugway Proving Ground, is quietly becoming a prime landing site for returning space missions. This development signals Utah’s emergence as a key player in the ever-growing cosmos business.

The state of Utah has a rich history in space-related activities, dating back to the mid-20th century. Now, with a focus on advancing aerospace, defense, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing industries, the state is positioning itself to become a leading ecosystem for aerospace and defense companies. 47G, formerly known as the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association, is spearheading this effort by collaborating with government, private industry, and academia to propel Utah into the forefront of the space industry.

Aaron Starks, the president and CEO of 47G, believes that Utah’s future is closely tied to the success of the aerospace and defense sectors. The economic impact of these industries in Utah is already significant, accounting for 20% of the state’s GDP, with space-related businesses showing rapid growth.

The growth of what Starks calls “newspace” industries, focusing on low-cost access to space and spaceflight technologies, is a driving force behind Utah’s expanding presence in the space sector. Companies like Northrop Grumman, which has a long-standing presence in Utah, are contributing to the state’s space capabilities. Northrop Grumman’s work on projects like NASA’s Space Launch System rocket demonstrates Utah’s expertise in cutting-edge spaceflight systems.

Moreover, Utah is home to elite research institutions like the Space Dynamics Laboratory at Utah State University, which is a key player in developing advanced space technologies. The lab’s contributions to projects like the James Webb Space Telescope and asteroid defense missions showcase Utah’s leadership in space innovation.

Additionally, companies like RAM Aviation, Space, and Defense in St. George are making significant strides in the space industry, supplying propulsion components for missions ranging from the International Space Station to SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. RAM CEO Gregg Robison highlights the company’s growth in the spaceflight sector and its role in advancing spacecraft development.

Overall, Utah’s burgeoning presence in the space industry is a testament to the state’s long-standing history in aerospace and defense, as well as its innovative approach to space technology. With companies like Northrop Grumman, research institutions like the Space Dynamics Laboratory, and innovative companies like RAM Aviation leading the way, Utah is poised to become a major player in the global space ecosystem.

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