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Aerospace domain

Aerospace innovation today focuses on the design and development of new technologies, products, processes or strategies that improve the performance, safety, efficiency or sustainability of aeronautical and space systems. This can include improvements in the materials and structures used to build aircraft and spacecraft, improvements in propulsion systems, advances in navigation and communication technologies, improvements in flight control systems, as well as new strategies for managing operations and safety.
The aerospace sector has undergone profound metamorphosis in recent decades, with the arrival of private players. The term “newspace” refers to the emergence of entrepreneurship, startups and venture capital funds within the space industry, traditionally dominated by governments and large corporations. Newspace encompasses a wide range of activities, including the design and manufacture of satellites and launch services; satellite surveillance, navigation and communication; research and production of materials for space; and the commercialization of space data and services. Newspace companies often seek to reduce costs and accelerate innovation by adopting agile approaches and using new and emerging technologies such as 3D printing, AI, robotics and electric propulsion.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an iconic organization in the metropolis of Houston. Federal investment in Texas’ aerospace environment, particularly for military applications, is among the highest in the country. NASA’s presence also benefits the development of the academic and scientific landscape in aerospace sciences. For example, Rice University‘s Aerospace Engineering program connects students with government agencies and aerospace manufacturers.

Near Houston, Texas A&M‘s Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory conducts interdisciplinary fundamental research into next-generation vertical take-off and landing concepts, new aircraft prototypes for planetary exploration, and energy-efficient green aviation.

In this context, SpaceX, a forerunner in newspace has relocated part of its facilities to Texas, to be closer to the Houston ecosystem, where more and more structures are supporting innovation in newspace, such as the Ion Aerospace Innovation Accelerator, the Space Fund venture capital fund and the Aerospace Industry Association (AIA). Innovative startups have succeeded in raising considerable funds to develop and market their technologies. Examples include Firefly Aerospace ($300M), which offers more affordable and practical launchers, and Axiom Space ($200M), whose ambition is to build the first commercial space station.

Los Angeles

The aerospace innovation ecosystem in the Los Angeles metropolis is strengthened by the presence of newspace leaders SpaceX and Blue Origin, as well as historic players in civil and military aviation such as Boeing and General Atomics.

In the academic world, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) eis renowned for its Department of Aerospace and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), co-funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). For their part, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of California Irvine (UCI) have renowned mechanical and aerospace engineering departments , and initiatives to support innovation in this field, such as the SCALE, program, a joint initiative between UCLA and Starburst in collaboration with JPL

Founded in Paris in 2012, Starburst is the first business accelerator deployed on a global scale (Paris, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Munich, Montreal or Singapore) entirely dedicated to startups in the aerospace sector, for both its civil and military aspects; based in El Segundo, in the Los Angeles region, it works with Airbus, Boeing, NASA, the Centre Nationale d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), General Electric, Raytheon, Safran, Thales, and BAE Systems, as well as airlines such as Air France and Lufthansa, and investment funds. The propitious environment of the Los Angeles region has catalyzed a number of entrepreneurial successes, amplified by considerable fund-raising, such as Relativity Space ($1.3B), which designs and 3D prints rockets, Rocket Lab ($709M), which enables the deployment of low-cost satellite systems, and Universal Hydrogen ($82.5M), which aims to achieve the first commercial flights powered by hydrogen.

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