Huntsville, AL - "Rocket City, USA"
Before it’s claim to fame as the “Rocket City,” Huntsville was a rural Northern Alabama watercress farming and textile mill town. The city responded, however, to President John F Kennedy’s dramatic and freedom-inspired call to action in the 1960’s by rapidly building a well-educated community to support the massive military economy, seemingly overnight, which was suddenly required by the American Space Program during the Cold War Space Race. Unbeknownst to the many millions of people all over the world who recently enjoyed viewing mainstream television coverage celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the successful Apollo 11 moon landing, Huntsville has quietly continued to lead the most advanced aerospace community in the world for the past 75 years and extending into the present day.
As a result, Huntsville has built a robust economy built almost exclusively around technical and operational expertise in the fields of aerospace and space science, aviation, advanced and theoretical physics, material science, chemistry and chemical engineering, electrical engineering and radar systems, satellite communications, ballistic weapons technology and advanced next generation propulsion systems among others. Our local business economy as a result boasts a number of resources for technical founders and government contractors, including legal and accounting infrastructure specific to business with both federal and high-tech customers.
Huntsville’s 38,000 acre Redstone Arsenal is home to at least 70 federal agencies, including the Army Futures Command, DoD's Missile Defense Agency, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the FBI and others. In addition to military and civil servant career paths, Huntsville's Chamber of Commerce reports at least 343 member private companies who list Defense or Aerospace as capabilities for government contracting. These include large well known corporations like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, SAIC, United Launch Alliance, Parsons and others but also include hundreds of small to medium sized government contractors including many family businesses and business run by a large community of serial entrepreneurs.
The many non-governmental high tech commercial companies located in the Rocket City include names like Mazda-Toyato, Facebook, Blue Origin, Polaris, ADTRAN and many others. A recent increased push towards better preparing our community for entrepreneurship has lead to a burst of expansion in our startup ecosystem, creating a more modern scene built upon a strong legacy of high value business creation in Huntsville, AL. The Institute leverages this growing pool of serial entrepreneurs as partners in our mission to funnel Defense and Space technology into commercial terrestrial market startups at scale - all while developing technology for the emerging New Space Economy.
Huntsville is listed 1st on Forbe’s Top 10 Cities for Engineers with the highest concentration of engineers per capita at 60 engineers per 1000 residents, was ranked as the best city in which to pursue a STEM career in the US by Livability.com in 2018, and was cited this year by US News & World Report as the 11th best city to call home, regardless of your career path, in the United States due to high levels of education, a strong job market, low cost of high quality housing and an overall high quality of life, among other factors.
The Institute's President, Amy Eskridge, is a Huntsville-native and second generation space science participant, having been born into a NASA family. Institute COO Dick Reeves has been a member of Huntsville's industrial development board for over a decade and is a local organizer of angel capital. Together, The Institute recognizes the wealth of opportunity and high quality and volume of technology innovation present here makes Huntsville a city poised to lead the next era of technological paradigm shift. Being able to partner with this talent pool, both wide in the impressive number of diverse advanced fields of study which are concentrated here and deep in the level of mastery that has been achieved in each of those fields, positions The Institute as being uniquely qualified to do what needs to be done to accelerate humanity’s journey deeper into the stars.
Los Angeles, California
The Institute’s office in Los Angeles is engaged in daily strategic collaboration with The Institute’s Huntsville founding team and participates in and contributes to investor relations, strategic positioning, curating space industry connections on the West Coast, and performing American military and federal relations as well as international relations.
Our partners in LA include Lady Rocket (Eva Blaisdell), founder of the California Space Center (CSC), who also contributes technology collaboration across media, distributed ledger technology and biomedicine. The Institute's relationship with CSC offers shared interactions with top level Department of Defense and US Air Force leadership. The Institute and California Space Center share the far-reaching goal of facilitating entrepreneurship to provide commercial infrastructure in support of the United States Space Force and Space Command. These efforts are supported by The Institute's proximity to Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center paired with Lady Rocket’s connections with Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California and NASA's presence in Pasadena, California.
Through its Los Angeles office The Institute has participation and active invitation to prominent NASA, US Air Force, industry and media events and relationships taking place in Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, as well as Washington DC and even Poland and other regions in Europe through Lady Rocket's relationships there.
The purpose of our Los Angeles office is to strengthen the bridge between the technology innovation in Huntsville and the financing and business innovation happening in LA. As part of this, The Institute Los Angeles is also shaping a new Space Incubator integrating Huntsville IP with California scale of operations, investors and LA’s prominent start up community.
At the same time, The Institute Los Angeles also has access to Hollywood partners to contribute to our evolving educational outreach efforts through scripted and unscripted media interactions and entertainment visibility. Watch for The Institute to be spreading the message of space exploration through entertaining and informative content.