Not only is our region responsible for aeronautical breakthroughs

Our Aerospace Industry is Healthy & Thriving

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FY-2016 budget was approximately $230 million. Our 2016 payroll reports:
538 .....civil servants
127 .....student interns

If implemented by Congress and the president, NASA’s New Aviation Horizon initiative calls for the return of flying experimental technology demonstrators, known to the aviation enthusiasts as

X-planes. The initiative lays out a plan to develop five, mostly large-scale X-planes over the next decade that will flight-test new technologies and systems as well as novel aircraft and engine configurations. Over two decades Since X-31, NASA is embarking on an all-electric aircraft, the X-57 Maxwell, to validate technologies  that will make aviation more efficient, quieter and more environmentally friendly.

The other big aeronautics story is the return of supersonic passenger air travel over land under NASA’s Quiet Supersonic Technology program, QueSST. Lockheed Martin in Palmdale will do the preliminary design. The noise called a Sonic Boom occurs when vehicle exceeds the speed of sound causing a boom sound that is too disruptive to go over populated land preventing supersonic flight. 

Space and Space Technology

Managed by Armstrong, NASA’s Flight Opportunities program strives to advance the operational readiness of innovative space technologies while also stimulating the growth and use of the U.S. commercial spaceflight industry.

The Flight Opportunities program provides access to space-relevant environments through the use of commercial reusable suborbital launch vehicles, rocket powered Vertical Take-off, Vertical Landing platforms, high-altitude balloons and parabolic aircraft flights.

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s reusable, lifting-body spacecraft, Dream Chaser, will arrive early 2017 for landing and approach tests. It will be housed in the hangar that had been used for the space shuttle’s maintenance and convoy equipment.


Armstrong’s hangar, Building 703, located in Palmdale, houses NASA’s airborne science aircraft (two ER-2s, DC-8, andC-20) that go around the world carrying scientific instruments and scientists for Earth observations and research for NASA’s Airborne Science program.

The center’s Global Hawk team has been working with NOAA on 3-year study on whether the aircraft will benefit research on hurricane formation, called Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology, SHOUT mission.

Space Shuttle Endeavor arrives at Edwards AFB, CA aboard the NASA SCA on Sept. 19, 2012.  U.S. Air Force Photo by Chris A. Neill

Space Shuttle Endeavor arrives at Edwards AFB, CA aboard the NASA SCA on Sept. 19, 2012. U.S. Air Force Photo by Chris A. Neill

NASA Begins Flight Testing of Shape-Shifting Wings

2016 Milestones:

  • Delivery of the X-57 all electric aircraft to contractor to install wings, first flight expected early.
  • The agency’s Flight Opportunities program, managed by Armstrong, added a new launch provider Blue Origin to its list of commercial launch providers. Currently two of the companies are located at Mojave Air and Space Port, Virgin Galactic and Masten Space Systems.
  • NASA’s airborne science aircraft, located in Palmdale have flown
  • SOFIA deployed to New Zealand during the Northern Hemisphere summer when celestial objects are not visible
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems in the National Air Space, UAS NAS, completed successful flight test series to move toward allowing unmanned aircraft in the national airspace alongside commercial aircraft.




  • Stuart Witt Event Center; 23,408 square feet converted training hangar, renovated for special occasions. Available to the general Public.
  • 3,300 acres
  • 70 companies
  • 2,000 full-time employees at the airport
  • 19 rocket test sites
  • High concentration of New Space companies

2016 Accomplishments:

  • NTPS receives EASA certification, possibly flight test camp
  • Virgin Galactic successfully tests VSS Unity
  • McCarthy’s HR 6007 is signed into law giving spaceports some protection from obstructions
  • Stratolaunch announces partnership with Orbital ATK

NTPS EASA Certified

The National Test Pilot School (NTPS) is pleased to announce that the European Aviation Safe- ty Agency (EASA) Certified NTPS as a Part- ORA Approved Training Organization (ATO) for Part-FCL Flight Test Training. This means that NTPS is the first (and for the current time the only) Test Pilot School in the world to be certified by EASA to pro- vide Flight Test Ratings.

VSS Unity Progressing

On February 19, 2016 Virgin Galactic introduced the new Space- Ship Two to the world. Professor Stephen Hawking named it VSS Unity and said “We are entering a new space age, and I hope this will help

to create a new unity.” Not only does VSS Unity undergo a rigorous testing regime, but the pilots spend a lot of time training and practicing. While they are able to do some training in the vehicle itself, for now they must use simulators and airplanes in order to practice flight maneuvers. Most recently they used a T- 2B Buckeye to work on high G training, spin recovery training, and simulating pattern approaches


Stratolaunch aircraft by Stratolaunch Systems Corp.,
Mojave Air and Space Port. Photo by Robert Sullivan

BOEING COMPANY - Greater Antelope Valley

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing employs more than 160,000 people across the United States and in 65 countries. Total company revenues for 2015 were a record $96.1 billion.

In the Antelope Valley, Boeing conducts ground and flight testing of both military and commercial products. On-going flight test programs for the US Air Force include the C-17 airlifter, B-1 and B-52 bombers, and F-22 fighter on Edwards AFB. At Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, the Company currently is conducting the flight test program for the F-15SA, the most modern variant of the F-15 fighter being produced for Saudi Arabia as part of the largest Foreign Military Sales program in US history. Boeing enjoys a long-standing partnership with NASA in the AV performing aeronautical research.

The Phantom Eye hydrogen-powered HALE (high altitude, long endurance) aircraft wrapped up its test program at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, with the unique demonstrator aircraft donated to the Air Force Flight Museum for future public display. The Company also supports flight testing of the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet models and EA-18G Growler as well as other Navy airframes and weapons systems at NAWS China Lake.

In 2016, the Company’s centennial anniversary year, Boeing had been integral in testing visiting programs and airframes in the region. Included are the KC-46 Pegasus; and the US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon ASW (anti-submarine warfare) aircraft. In 2017, Boeing launches into the next 100 years with the arrival of the KC-46 at Edwards AFB for flight test; initial testing of the 737 Max; latest model of the Dreamliner, 787-10; and the return of both the P-8A and Italian KC-767 NATO aerial refueling tanker.

For additional information about The Boeing Company, please visit:

Boeing KC-46, replacement Tanker for US Air Force.
Boeing KC-46, replacement Tanker for US Air Force.

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 98,000 people worldwide and more than 3,000 people locally. The Antelope Valley location is home to the iconic Skunk Works® known for solutions that push the state of the art in support of the nation’s most pressing needs. Working advanced development projects, the Skunk Works team is focused on rapid prototyping, innovative design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of manned and unmanned aircraft systems. Employees are very active in the community with emphasis on inspiring students to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math disciplines, and in support of military and veterans cause.

We are always looking for talented people to join our team.

The X-35 Joint Strike Fighter

NORTHROP GRUMMAN – Antelope Valley

Northrop Grumman is one of the largest private aerospace employers in the Antelope Valley with advanced manufacturing sites located in Palmdale and Mojave. The Palmdale Center of Excellence provides the opportunity to continue its efforts of being a dedicated community partner. The site provides assembly, integration, testing and long- term maintenance capabilities for some of the world’s most advanced aircraft systems including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, B-2 Spirit bomber, and the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft. $246 million in total annualized payroll and benefits in the Antelope Valley. We currently have more than 2 million square feet of facilities designed to support multiple aircraft programs, and intend to renovate an additional 1 million square feet of Air Force Plant 42 and activate 500,000 square feet of additional footprint in the next five years. 488 specific supplier contracts valued at $186 million dollars in the past three years. More than 125 job openings currently exist in Palmdale, so we are hiring!

2016 Milestones:

  • Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Palmdale facility received the prestigious James Cogswell Outstanding Industrial Security Achievement Award by the Defense Security Service (DSS).
  • Successfully flew a SYERS-2 intelligence gathering sensor on an RQ-4 Global Hawk high altitude long endurance unmanned aircraft system (UAS), marking the first time the legacy S. Air Force sensor has been demonstrated on a high altitude unmanned aircraft.
  • Manufacturing of the first Republic of Korea Global Hawk is currently underway at Northrop Grumman’s Moss Point, Mississippi, Final production will take place in Palmdale.
  • NGC’s Global Hawk unmanned high altitude long endurance system will mark the 15th anniversary of supporting United States Air Force (USAF) combat
  • Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) surpassed 200,000 flight hours, reinforcing its status as the most effective high altitude, long endurance intelligence gathering aircraft in the
  • The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), developed for the S. Air Force, achieved 100,000 combat operational flight hours providing critical communications capabilities to warfighters.
B-2 Spirit Bomber
B-2 Spirit Bomber
Northrop Grumman mechanic uses FILLS light projected work instructions to speed the assembly of an F-35 center fuselage.

Northrop Grumman mechanic uses FILLS light projected work instructions to speed the assembly of an F-35 center fuselage.

Edwards Air Force Base

Air Force Flight Test Center:

Quick Facts
Military Personnel (Active, reserves/national guard, etc)2,244
Civilian Personnel 7,109
Family Members 2,104
Total Personnel11,457
Military Pay $118,984,039
Civilian Pay $401,125,287
Total Payroll$520,109,326
Estimated indirect jobs created locally10,580
Average Annual Pay $58,015
Total Payroll$666,638,022
Contract Expenditures $304,289,876
Estimated Total Value of Jobs Created $665,445,795
Combined Economic Impact:

*As reported in the 2014 Economic Impact Analysis


The 412th Test Wing is the host wing for Edwards Air Force Base. Edwards AFB is 308,000-acres, or 481-square miles in area, in Kern, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. The Test Wing plans, conducts, analyzes and reports on all flight and ground testing of aircraft, weapon systems, software and components, as well as modeling and simulation for the Air Force. The Wing has three core flight test mission components: flying operations, maintenance and engineering. Edwards AFB is also the home of the Air Force Test Pilot School. The Wing also oversees the base’s day-to-day operations and provides support for more than 9,700 military, federal civilian and contract personnel. Major tenants include NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, and Air Force Research Laboratory’s Aerospace Systems Directorate.

2016 Milestones:

  • Significant milestones for the 412th Test Wing in FY17 included execution of successful test programs for major weapons systems including; testing new brakes for F-15 Strike Eagles; getting the F-35 to initial operational capability; upgrades to the B-2 stealth bomber, C-17 drag reduction testing and testing out the new KC-46 Pegasus aerial refueling
  • In addition, the 412th Test Wing successfully executed test programs for the F-22, B-1, B-52, KC-135, Global Hawk RPA, and supported Foreign Military Service programs for the F-16 and the F-15 Saudi Arabia. Several mission support accomplishments such as the opening of the Mojave Sky Community Center, renovations to dorms and housing; a new bulk fuel storage facility; and continued improvements to Plant 42 in Palmdale were achieved.


The Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) was established Nov. 8, 1943 as a partnership between the Navy and the California Institute of Technology for the testing and evaluation of rockets developed by the academic institution as well as other aviation ordnance. This partnership created a pattern of cooperation and interaction between civilian scientists and engineers and experienced military personnel that has made China Lake one of the preeminent research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) institutions in the world.

Located 150 miles north of Los Angeles, NAWS China Lake’s remoteness, near perfect flying weather and practically unlimited visibility proved an ideal location, not only for testing and evaluation activities, but also for a complete research and development establishment.