Long Beach – The past couple of years space companies have been making Long Beach their home; with it being the headquarters or a factory, two of those aerospace companies might just be here to stay.
This isn’t a bad thing, of course, companies like Virgin Orbit and Relativity Space are bringing more jobs to Long Beach, are working towards creating cheaper more sustainable ways to go to space, hope to the community involved, and inspire the next generation to get into the aerospace industry.
Caryn Schenewerk, Vice President of Regulatory and Government Affairs, of Relativity Space said that Long Beach’s talent, its community and history, and the opportunity for production makes Long Beach the ideal place to be at.
“The city’s history as an aerospace hub is built upon high talent density and existing infrastructure that allows startup companies like Relativity to focus on the challenges of innovative engineering while scaling operations at an exponential rate,” Schenewerk said.
While being here, Relativity space has a vision and is currently on a mission to become a part of building humanity’s multi-planetary future. Their goal is to build an industrial base on Mars at the same time as improving the output cost and time for making the materials and systems needed to do so.
“We believe that future is possible through software-enabled additive manufacturing, which we believe is the only way for us to build all of the necessary infrastructure on Mars to sustain humans. It will take dozens to hundreds of disruptive companies to build that future, and we hope Relativity can inspire the next generation of tech companies to join us and help make that vision a reality,” Schenewerk said.
Virgin Orbit’s Vice President of Special Projects, Will Pomerantz, sees it in a similar way. The company started in Southern California and wanted to stay in California once they were able to start building or manufacturing hardware, choosing Long Beach because of the access to world-class local talent and successful aerospace tradition.
“As soon as we came down, I’ll say the community kind of welcomed us with open arms,” Pomerantz said on their opening in 2017. “And I recall we stopped counting people when we had 6,000 people come through the doors. There were that many people who I think were both curious about who we were and what we were doing, but it was also people who live in Long Beach and live locally, and love aerospace, and wanted to figure out if there was a role for them to contribute.”
For both companies, the community was a big part in coming and is still a reason to stay. Pomerantz went on to say that there are hopes the community can get involved since they’re hiring and always looking for more world-class talent of all different kinds from lawyers to engineers.
Virgin Orbit is also hoping to host tours of the factory for school students, after-school programs, and boys and girls clubs like they had done prior to the COVID-19 pandemic once it becomes safe to do so. They also do work with California State University Long Beach and other local organizations. They hope to inspire others to be interested in aerospace and STEM; to help people understand how satellites are already being used. “The more people are thinking of new ideas, the better we’ll all be,” Pomerantz said.
Students can start learning more about the industry first hand with the aerospace and space “Festival of Flight” on November 6th at the Long Beach Airport.
“I’ve been in aerospace for about 20 years, this is by far the most exciting time in aerospace in my lifetime,” Pomerantz said; continuing to say that now there are many more programs in aerospace.
“I get excited about that because anytime you have that you’re getting more talent; getting more creativity into the industry. You’re willing to take a little bit more risk because you have more people that are doing it and with all those things comes, I think great change and great improvement.”