Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative

Southern California is the home of the most innovative space startups and hardware, like Virgin Galactic's beautiful spaceship Unity.

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Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative

Virgin Galactic Spacecraft are carried aloft and then launched from under the White Knight Two plane. Center Director Greg Autry on the taxiway after observing a test flight.

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Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative

SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy launch carried "Starman" and a Tesla roadster out toward the asteroid belt.

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Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative

Branson is announcing launch of his Virgin Galactic space tourism startup at Mojave Air and Space Port in 2004..

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Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative

Mike Melville atop Scaled Composite’s SpaceShipTwo, celebrating the world’s first commercial human spaceflight at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

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Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative

Center director Greg Autry at Spacex with the first orbital commercial spacecraft launched by a commercial rocket and returned to Earth.

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SCCSI Logo

The mission of USC’s Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative (SCCSI) is to lead in the development and distribution of research that supports the entrepreneurial space economy, ensuring a brighter future in space for our region, the nation and the world.

Southern California has been the center of leading edge air and spacecraft development since the days of Allan Lockheed, Jack Northrup and Chuck Yeager. America’s first “winged astronauts” made their suborbital flights to the edge of space over SoCal’s High Desert. Today, the Right Stuff is undergoing an exciting rebirth in entrepreneurial phenomena known as New Space.

JPL CenterWhile California is home to three NASA centers (Ames, Armstrong and JPL) two military space facilities (Edwards and Vandenberg AFBs) the space agency and DOD are no longer the only customers for space gear or services. Our traditional aerospace leaders and a crop of innovative startups are competing over incredible new business opportunities in commercializing space.  Some of the new firms are headed by famous billionaires and some of them are founded by twenty something USC graduates. The Space Foundation estimates the economic activity of the space economy was $329 billion in 2016. That’s approximately 5 times bigger than the mobile app market.

Visionary leaders in industry and government are anticipating an even bigger boom will take the space business into the $trillions over the next couple of decades. The Vice President has called theInside Space Ship One rise off the commercial space industry “meteoric.” ULA’s Tory Bruno believes this market will be roughly the size of Britain’s current GDP by 2045 and he foresees thousands of people living and working in space. Jeff Bezos wants that to be millions of people and he’s spending $1 billion a year of his own money to get us there. Elon Musk plans to colonize Mars and is building that spacecraft today. A USC New Space startup, Relativity Space, has raised over $35m to 3D print orbital rockets!

There is no more exciting and fertile ground for entrepreneurial research. USC’s Southern California Commercial Spaceflight Initiative will research, report on and engage the entrepreneurial commercial space industry, with a focus on the important role that aerospace plays in the Southern California economy.

SCCSI will support entrepreneurship research within the commercial space context conducted by the initiative’s director and others. The initiative will also host an annual Space Entrepreneurship Conference connecting space industry and political leaders with management scholars.