NASA Admin Nelson & Senator Cantwell Join Gravitics at Washington Space Summit
July 5, 2023
Kent, Washington – 7/5/2023 – Gravitics was invited to participate in the Washington Aerospace Summit taking place in Blue Origin’s headquarters in Kent, WA. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Washington Senator Maria Cantwell joined Washington state’s top aerospace companies and educational institutions to discuss the state’s status as an emerging leader in commercial space and what the White House and NASA can do to support the growth of the Pacific Northwest’s aerospace industry.
The summit included an exhibit floor with ~20 local aerospace companies, and concluded with a panel discussion focusing on the economic opportunities opening up on the space frontier over the coming decade, with an emphasis on U.S. manufacturing capacity to support the space sector.
The panel, which consisted of the CEOs from Blue Origin, Stoke Space, Starfish Space, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp., PNWAA, and Gravitics, discussed the increasingly central role that these companies play in the expansion of the nation’s space program. Leaders from the University of Washington, Washington State University, and Sno-Isle Tech also participated in the discussion, highlighting their efforts to grow education and training in the sector with the goal of bringing more women and racial and ethnic minorities into the field. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Washington State Senator Cantwell concluded the panel with a Q&A session.
Gravitics was represented on the panel by CEO and Co-Founder Colin Doughan. When asked about why he chose Washington state to establish his startup, Colin replied “That vision [of Washington] 10 years ago was absolutely the reason we came. The workforce is here. The innovation is here.” A person from the audience then posed a question to the panel, asking what the industry was doing to make it more gender inclusive and welcoming to women. Colin shared an anecdote about his young daughter, who loves aerospace and “knew what max q was before she did her first lemonade stand.” She loves aerospace and yet still asks Colin, “Dad, can I be an astronaut?,” which he said feels like a knife to the heart for him. Colin stated, “They need to see people like them in roles they want, and every time we break a barrier, that’s one more little girl like mine that says ‘Of course I can,’ and there are so many more places we have to do that.”
On the exhibit floor, Gravitics displayed a 1:6 scale model of their StarMax™ space station, samples of their MMOD shielding technology, and a Virtual Reality headset that lets users experience StarMax™ floating in space and grasp its immense size. When explaining Gravitics’ business model to the public, VP of Business Development, Jiral Shah, stated “Think of how Boeing builds airplanes but then sells them to Delta or United who are the operators, and they fly them. We are building space station modules and providing them to commercial space station operators like Blue Origin, or Axiom Space, or Northrop Grumman.”
Local and state news stations and newspapers along with Geekwire and the Associated Press were invited to cover the event.