Category Archives: Aerospace

Over 7 billion gallons saved.

Aviation Partners' blended winglets shown on a Boeing 737 in flightIf you find yourself staring at the tips of wings during your travels, wondering what those curvy wingtip additions do, Seattle-based Aviation Partners has the answer.

Their blended winglet technology has saved airlines and business jet operators an estimated seven billion gallons of jet fuel and counting, thanks to their unique role in reducing drag.

A joint partnership with Boeing, you’ll find these blended winglets on most of Boeing’s new planes, including the 737 and 767. The winglets reduce the drag that is produced by the end of the wing, where little mini tornadoes of air pressure caused by differences between the upper and lower part of the wing create turbulence.

By reducing this vortex of disrupted air, the blended winglets increase fuel efficiency, as much as 60% greater than conventional winglets that are angled rather than curved.

Find out more about these amazing Washington State innovations in this Puget Sound Business Journal article or check out the real-time fuel estimator on the Aviation Partners website.

Cleaner, quieter, faster air travel coming to an airport near you.

Zunum Aero hybrid electric airplaneHybrid electric cars are changing the auto industry and by 2020 Kirkland-based Zunum Aero plans to have hybrid electric airplanes taking off for regional air service. Utilizing the existing network of smaller community airports could reduce travel time and shift short-haul travel from metro airports, along with the environmental gains of  lower emissions and noise. Improvements in battery storage and software that calculates the needs for engine power has allowed for a revolutionary approach to powering aircraft. Anticipated benefits include lower operating costs and lower fares, cutting carbon emissions by 80%, reducing noise in the surrounding communities by 75% and returning cost-effective regional air travel to smaller communities. Partnering with Boeing and JetBlue Technology Ventures, Zunum expects to be manufacturing their first planes by 2020. Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal and Geekwire.

Washington State has been a leader in aerospace technology for more than a century. Blend that expertise with the advances that Washington companies are making in clean technology, battery storage, advanced manufacturing and new materials, and software development across industry sectors, and you have the potential for making huge changes in the economics of air travel.

To learn more about aerospace, technology, clean tech and software development industries in Washington contact

Space hub expands in Washington State.

SpaceX logoWashington State is increasingly becoming the epicenter of space exploration. With over a century of aerospace know how and a phenomenal depth of tech expertise in the state, home-grown companies like Blue Origin, Vulcan Aerospace, Planetary Resources and Tethers Unlimited have been joined by space industry leaders such as SpaceX and Aerojet Rocketdyne to create a hub of space innovation in Washington.

In 2015, SpaceX opened a facility in Redmond, Washington to begin work on a network of satellites. Now the operation is significantly expanding to accommodate increased staffing capabilities and may be looking towards a manufacturing facility in the future. Read more at

Washington State is pushing the envelope for commercial space exploration and travel. To learn more about the growing space industry in Washington contact


Boeing breaks ground on new training center.

boeing-education-center-auburnBoeing has started work on a new Workforce Training Center at its Auburn, Washington facility. It’s the first new building constructed on the site in almost 25 years.

The $16.7 million center, which covers almost 71,000 square feet, is a significant investment in Washington and its workforce, the company says. When completed, the Workforce Training Center will provide training to the facility’s 5,300 workers who work in the seven manufacturing units under its roof.

The new facility is the first of two buildings to be constructed on the site. The second will be an Operations Readiness Center which will house critical spare parts. The Auburn site currently produces about 15,000 parts per day for Boeing aircraft.

Read the Puget Sound Business Journal article on the new facility.

WSU wins grant to research commercial biofuels market.

flasks of biofuels for research

Washington State has a serious commitment to clean energy and reducing emissions across industries. As an aerospace leader, Washington  researchers are focused on revolutionary biofuels that will reduce emissions from commercial aircraft and maintain fuel efficiency.

A Washington State University research team in Tri-Cities has won a grant from the National Science Foundation to research the market potential for their biofuel that converts biomass into hydrocarbons of jet fuel quality.  See article in the Puget Sound Business Journal.  The University of Washington’s Foster Business School is also providing expertise to the WSU team as they plan for bringing the biofuel to market.

Airlines are facing a demand for emissions reduction and have been testing alternative fuels. See earlier post.  And, Sea-Tac International Airport is building the infrastructure to handle these eco-friendly fuels. See 2015 post. Recently, Washington State based Alaska Air was the first to use alternative fuels on a commercial flight.

Washington State has been at the forefront of developing clean energy. Smart grids for cities, alternative fuels and high-performance power storage systems are a few of the innovations coming from Washington companies.

If you would like to learn more about clean energy, biofuels and aerospace initiatives in Washington contact


Washington space company makes science fiction a reality.

space-mfgsatellitesAdvanced manufacturing is moving into space and building the foundation of a robust in-space economy. Firmamentum, a division of Washington-based Tethers Unlimited, will be testing additive manufacturing technologies on board space systems. The goal is for lightweight, carbon-fiber composite structures to be fabricated in space. This allows for significantly larger and therefore, higher performance satellite components to be created in orbit rather than being limited by the smaller units that are currently being launched.  The company is also testing  in-space recycling demonstrations.  Read more in The Seattle Times.

Washington State has become a space exploration hub where companies like Blue Origin, Vulcan Aerospace, Insitu, Planetary Resources and Tethers Unlimited are pioneers in the new frontier.  To learn more about the robust space industry in Washington State contact

Washington space company launches imaging satellite.

earth-aerialviewThe goal is to have a more efficient and affordable earth imaging platform. BlackSky Global, a subsidiary of Washington State based Spaceflight Industries, is developing a constellation of satellites that will provide an unprecedented view of the world with high quality images and time-sensitive data feeds. Having nearly real-time, detailed images of earth can be useful for opening up new markets in weather forecasting, tracking earthquake damage and environmental activity, observing herd migration, urban planning, forest management and monitoring shipping activity, among other uses. The satellite was launched from the space center in Sriharikota, India. The satellite was deployed into orbit for testing its design and the ground systems for receiving imaging data. The color images will provide a resolution of one meter per each image pixel. Read more in The Seattle Times and

Washington companies like Blue Origin, Spaceflight Industries, Planetary Resources and Aerojet Rocketdyne are redefining travel and commercial exploration in space.  The depth of engineering and software development talent in Washington along with the cultural of collaboration and pioneering spirit has created a robust environment for space  exploration.

To learn more about the growing space industry in Washington, contact


Washington State drone industry group gets off the ground.

Credit Freefly Systems
Credit Freefly Systems

Commercial aerospace has long been one of Washington State’s premier industries. However, the leading edge sub-sector of unmanned aircraft systems is also being pioneered by Washington companies. The synergy around drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles has fostered the formation of the Unmanned Systems Industry Council (USIC). Led by Washington State Department of Commerce Office of Aerospace, the first ever USIC  conference brought together leaders in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) along with smaller companies  including Applewhite Aero, Echodyne and Freefly Systems, all bringing their different technologies into the UAV industry. Working together with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s Cascade Chapter, the council is working to advocate for the use of drones to fill a variety of commercial uses. Read more in Geekwire and the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Washington State is at the forefront of aerospace, robotics, space exploration and unmanned vehicles. To learn more about the aerospace and related industries in Washington State contact

Blue Origin announces new rocket.

blog-blue-origins-new-glenn-feature1Washington’s space cluster continues to redefine the market for innovative commercial spacecraft, propulsion and systems.

Washington-based Blue Origin has just announced its new entry into the commercialized space launch system market.

The New Glenn, named after astronaut John Glenn, will be the biggest, most powerful rocket built since the 1960s moon missions, says Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin and

The multi-stage rocket, to be launched from the company’s Cape Canaveral facility, uses the new BE-4 engine being designed and built in Kent, Washington. Each rocket has a projected thrust of 550,000 pounds, meaning the New Glenn’s seven engines should put out 3.85 million pounds of thrust at launch. The New Glenn will have a two and three stage configuration, which is shown in the illustration next to the first stage, which will be able to land autonomously on land, similar to Space X’s Falcon 9.

The new rocket’s first flight will be by the end of the decade, said Bezos, who hinted at a bigger rocket also on the drawing board, New Armstrong.

Read more…


Mini thrusters propel mini payloads.

Space-abstractWashington-based Tethers Unlimited has recently won $2.2 million in  contracts to produce small propulsion systems with a fuel source that is non-explosive, non-toxic and unpressurized. The fuel is a mix of hydrogen and oxygen and created by splitting water molecules. Only 4 inches wide the powerful mini-thrusters are highly maneuverable. This technology will facilitate mining ice crystals on asteroids which can be converted into fuel for satellites while they are in space. Read more in Geekwire.

Space exploration has become a thriving industry in Washington State. Reusable rockets, lower space launch vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, in space 3-D printing  and highly maneuverable thrusters are just some of the technologies being developed by Washington companies.

To learn more about the emerging space industry in Washington State contact