A space module is deployed in earth's orbit to serve as a habitat.Washington’s bold pioneer spirit has long been a staple of our culture of innovation and exploration, dating back to the ancient people who settled here more than 10,000 years ago.

So it should come as no surprise that this spirit is alive and well as humans escape the bonds of the Earth and reach for the stars, in our solar system and beyond.

Building on 60 years of space know-how, dating back to the first electric cars on the moon in the early 1970s, Washington’s space industry continues to forge new paths in space exploration.

In fact, three Washington startups received $1.7 million awards from SpaceWERX, which serves as a venture fund for the U.S. Space Force.

The organization’s mission is to form collaborative partnerships between the military’s operational experts and the top innovators in the industry, academia and government. The goal is to identify, validate, acquire and integrate technologies that will quickly shape space exploration’s future.

Gravitics in Marysville received an award to advance their next-generation habitable modules. Bothell-based Portal Space Systems received an award to develop systems for in-space mobility and orbital debris removal, while Starfish Space in Tukwila received a $1.7 million award to develop spacecraft and software to service satellites in orbit.

The 2023 Tactically Responsive Space Challenge received 302 proposals from 232 companies and 18 were awarded $1.7 million Small Business Research Phase II contracts.

Learn more about the competition and awards at SpaceWERX.

Read more about the Washington awards in Geekwire