The Economic Impact of Astra in Alameda
The Bay Area tech economy is much more than companies building new software off lines of code. Advanced manufacturing is also producing rapid employment growth—particularly in the East Bay, which has seen manufacturing jobs increase by 25% from 2011 to 2019. Several hightech companies are located in the East Bay that are producing innovative new products on a number of different fronts. Fremont sits at the center of the electric vehicle economy, Emeryville is well-known for biotech manufacturing, and Oakland is home to leading 3D manufacturing companies. Alameda is also home to innovation in advanced manufacturing as it is the headquarters city for a company producing rockets to deliver satellites into space.
Astra, the Alameda Point-based manufacturer of rockets, is a five-year-old company that recently completed its first commercial orbital launch from Kodiak, Alaska. In Alameda, Astra is rapidly expanding its capabilities. Since 2017, Astra has worked with regulators to rehabilitate and reuse the Navy’s defunct jet engine test cells and engine refurbishment spaces, which gives Astra the ability to design, build, and test its rockets in Alameda. The company now employs approximately 300 individuals, up from approximately 100 in 2020, making the city home to one of the fastest growing companies involved in the space economy.
Given Astra’s rapid expansion and its potential to grow employment further on Alameda Point, it is important to understand the company’s economic impact on the surrounding geography. In addition to the economic activity taking place within Astra’s walls—i.e., wages paid to employees, materials and services purchased, and sales made to customers—the company also produces positive economic effects for the city broadly.