There’s more activity than ever in the commercial space race, with a new wave of entrepreneurs attempting to do everything from lowering the cost of putting something into space, with reusable rockets, to mining asteroids. With their mix of universities, government space facilities, technology talent and financial risk takers, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Denver and other cities have become especially fertile grounds for space start-ups.
No single spot can claim to be the Silicon Valley of such companies yet, but Seattle is on the short list of contenders, investors and entrepreneurs say. The area is home to two tech billionaires — Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft — who are funding ambitious, varied efforts to make space more accessible. They have been joined by a few smaller companies like Spaceflight, attracted by Seattle’s abundant supply of software engineers from stalwarts like Amazon and Microsoft and aerospace experts from Boeing, the aviation giant that has major operations in the area.
“I think we’re putting the space back into the Space Needle,” Charles Beames, the president of Vulcan Aerospace, Mr. Allen’s space investment company, said in a recent interview.
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