For decades, the U.S. has been a leader in aerospace manufacturing, and with the renaissance in the production sector as a whole, that doesn't seem like it's going to change any time soon. Indeed, a recent report found that America still dominates the global aerospace sector, and more projects are on the way to keep the industry going strong for potentially years to come.
The U.S. was once again considered the most attractive country in the world for companies to pursue aerospace manufacturing projects in 2018, based on a number of different criteria, according to the latest data from Pricewaterhousecoopers. Across the seven categories in which the company evaluated the fertility for the sector, the U.S. ranked in the top 10 globally in all but one.
The United States was rated as having the top labor pool and existing industry, the fourth-lowest geopolitical risk, fifth-best infrastructure, seventh-best costs of operation, and 10th-best economy for the sector, the report said. The only area in which it lagged - ranking 36th globally - was in tax policy. Meanwhile, Canada ranked second overall, and in the top three for labor, industry and geopolitical risk.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Washington and Texas ranked Nos. 1 and 2 among all states for attractiveness in the aerospace sector, the report said. These states have long dominated the industry and, despite higher costs than the vast majority of states, their strength in the industry is what keeps them as such viable options going forward.
Other areas of growth
Meanwhile, a new imaging and analytics startup - which was founded by a number of former NASA workers - based in San Francisco recently opened a new satellite manufacturing space in the basement of an office building, with an eye toward expansion, according to Tech Crunch. The facility, measuring just 27,000 square feet, will be able to produce about 40 low-orbit satellites a week, with plans to use these devices for roughly three years.
The hope is that the lower-cost, high-tech devices - which take two pictures per second - will be able to take more accurate photos of earth which can then be categorized by the company's automated systems, the report said. The company already has nearly 300 satellites in low orbit, half of which are actively imaging data on about 300 million square kilometers of the planet every day.
Leaving the planet?
Along very different lines, NASA itself recently contracted with a company to study how manufacturing might work in outer space itself, according to The Motley Fool. Maxar Technologies will examine potential uses for commercial space in, well, space - where things that would be used in orbit could be produced. One of the biggest hurdles to more work is the prohibitively expensive cost of launching things into space, but if products are made up there already, it might represent cost savings for NASA and other organizations.
When manufacturing in any portion of the industry expands, competition for people who can credibly fill warehouse jobs will be strong. That means it's important for manufacturers to ensure both higher salaries and stronger benefits packages are in place to both attract and retain top talent.
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