Aerospace Corp. to invest $100 million in El Segundo campus, moves headquarters to Washington, D.C., area

Research and development lab Aerospace Corp. moved its headquarters this week to Virginia from El Segundo but reaffirmed its commitment to its South Bay campus by announcing a $100-million investment there.

The federally funded nonprofit corporation, which supports government and private-sector space work, said there would be no “significant relocation of current employees” in the move to Chantilly, Va., where it has another campus, but said industry changes required it.

“The space domain has transformed over the last decade, reshaped by rapidly advancing threats, cutting-edge technologies and a fast-growing commercial sector,” Chief Executive Steve Isakowitz said in a prepared statement. “By shifting our headquarters to the Washington, D.C. metro region, we will deepen our ties with key decision makers and stakeholders, and reaffirm our commitment to working side-by-side with our partners as they carry out our nation’s critical missions.”

In relocating its top management to the nation’s center of politics and government, Aerospace joins a growing number of aerospace and defense contractors that have made the move.

Last year, RTX Corp., which has facilities in El Segundo and was based in Waltham, Mass., announced it was moving its headquarters to Arlington, Va. Embattled Boeing Corp., a major defense contractor, also said it was moving its global headquarters to Arlington, from Chicago.

They joined major defense contractors already headquartered in the region, including General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, whose 2011 move from Los Angeles was a blow to Southern California’s aerospace industry, though it continues to maintain extensive operations here.

Aerospace Corp. is nowhere near the size of large defense contractors but plays a key role in supporting the nation’s space industry with cutting-edge technologies and consulting services. It has 4,600 employees nationwide, including 2,800 in El Segundo. Other major facilities are in Chantilly, Albuquerque and Colorado Springs, Colo.

Founded in 1960, the lab has provided assistance to projects that include the Defense Department’s Global Positioning System (GPS), NASA’s 1960s race to the moon, the nation’s ballistic missile defense system and multiple satellite deployments.

Its current work includes research to improve satellite solar arrays, developing electric propulsion for spacecraft and improving space micro-electronics. It is also working on NASA’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the moon.

The nonprofit’s primary customer and sponsor is the U.S. Space Force, but it also works with civil agencies such as NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, as well as the intelligence community and international partners. Among the private-sector companies it has worked with is SpaceX.

Aerospace said its $100-million investment in the El Segundo campus would seek to expand its technical expertise and strengthen ties to the region’s workforce, talent base and universities. Among the projects it will fund are the modernization of facilities that date back to the 1960s and consolidation of labs and other space on the main campus, a company spokesperson said.

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