WASHINGTON — The non-profit Aerospace Corp., which functions as a federal research lab focused on space, announced last week it relocated its corporate headquarters from El Segundo, California, to the Washington D.C. area.

In an interview with SpaceNews March 25, Aerospace’s president and chief executive Steve Isakowitz said the decision was driven by the evolving space landscape in the U.S. government and a need for closer proximity to key decision makers.

“What has happened in the last few years really drove major trends that made it a very powerful case to head to Washington D.C.,” Isakowitz said.

The first trend has been a consolidation of Aerospace’s key customers and stakeholders in the nation’s capital. “And the most significant of that has been the creation of the Space Force,” Isakowitz said. Having a military branch dedicated to space operations based in the Pentagon represents a concentrated customer base Aerospace is eager to serve more effectively.

As a federally funded research and development center, Aerospace serves as a technical advisor to both military and civil space agencies.

‘Reporting structures have changed’

Isakowitz cited organizations like the Space Development Agency and the Space Warfighting Analysis Center as other D.C.-based customers that Aerospace wants to be closer to. “We’ve got the space senior acquisition executive Frank Calvelli over there,” he added. “The reporting structures have changed. And we’ve got these big programs like NASA’s Artemis.”

In the policy arena, he added, “space has become much higher on Congress’ and the White House agenda as they’re seeing the importance of these activities.”

Aerospace has offices in the D.C. metro area in Arlington and in Chantilly, Virginia. The company will continue to operate in Arlington and its corporate headquarters is now in Chantilly. 

Isakowitz said the company will maintain its workforce of 2,800 people in El Segundo, and plans to invest $100 million at its campus there in engineering and research activities. He said there are no plans for a significant relocation of current employees.

The Aerospace Corp. was established in June 1960 to serve the U.S. Air Force in the scientific and technical planning and management of missile-space programs, free from conflicts of interest. It had been headquartered in El Segundo since the company was formed. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...