Shapiro Administration Invests Millions in Astrobotic Technology, Helping the Leading Space and Robotics Company Expand and Create Nearly 300 High-Tech Jobs Ahead of December Moon Launch
November 14, 2023
Astrobotic has purchased a vacant five-story building and plans to create a ‘space campus’ that will create jobs, spur innovation, and invest in new technologies.
Since January, the Shapiro Administration has facilitated over $1 billion in new private sector investments in Pennsylvania – and this latest investment is helping Pennsylvania innovate and lead America back to the moon.
Pittsburgh, PA – Continuing to fulfill his pledge to make Pennsylvania a leader in innovation, Governor Josh Shapiro and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Rick Siger joined Astrobotic today at the Moonshot Museum on the North Shore to announce the company is expanding in the City of Pittsburgh. The growing company is renovating a new $20 million facility and plans to create 283 new, high-tech jobs and retain 174 employees. Today’s announcement is another example of how the Shapiro Administration is investing in technology and innovation to make Pennsylvania an economic powerhouse that leads in growing industries.
Astrobotic has acquired a five-story, 46,000-square-foot vacant building located at 1106 Reedsdale Street in Pittsburgh. The company will invest in extensive renovations of the property and utilize four of the five floors for expansion space beyond its existing headquarters. Astrobotic will lease a portion of the ground floor to the Keystone Space Collaborative for its Keystone Innovation Center. This center will serve as a programmatic and co-working space for Keystone members and house the AFWERX/SpaceWERX Pittsburgh Hub. The new location will be the site of Astrobotic’s new space campus that is helping to make Pittsburgh a regional and national leader in the industry.
Since January, Governor Shapiro has announced over $1 billion in new private sector investment in Pennsylvania as a direct result of his Administration’s work, positioning the Commonwealth to be a leader in innovation and economic development. In March, Governor Shapiro visited Astrobotic to highlight Pennsylvania’s growing innovation economy and to call for a significant down payment in innovation and economic development ahead of his first Budget Address.
“When I visited Astrobotic back in March, I saw the Peregrine lunar lander that was built by this incredible team of engineers and scientists right here in Pittsburgh – and I’m proud that lander is now ready to launch,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “Today, I’m excited to announce that my Administration is investing more than $4 million to support Astrobotic’s work to build a space campus and make Pittsburgh a leader in the growing space industry. My Administration is working hard to help companies like Astrobotic grow and thrive so they can continue to focus on making history – and we’ll continue to invest in their success to ensure the next innovation happens here in Pennsylvania.”
Astrobotic received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $1,981,000 Pennsylvania First grant, a Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan of $2.4 million, Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funding, and private bank financing to support the project. Astrobotic has received offers from other states, including Florida and Texas, to relocate, but has chosen to remain in Pennsylvania.
“Astrobotic’s expansion in Pennsylvania is yet another outstanding example of our growing technology sector,” said Secretary Rick Siger. “Pennsylvania — especially here in the Pittsburgh region ― is known worldwide as a hub of robotics, AI, and other innovative industries, fueled by a workforce that is second to none. The Shapiro Administration is thrilled to support Astrobotic’s growth in the Commonwealth.”
Astrobotic was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 by William “Red” Whitaker who is widely regarded as the father of field robotics. The company seeks to make space accessible to the world. The company’s lunar lander, Peregrine, will deliver payloads to the moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits and individuals.
Astrobotic also develops advanced space robotics capabilities such as terrain relative navigation, mobile robotics for lunar surface operations, and reliable computing systems for mission-critical applications. Astrobotic has contracts with a portfolio of companies, but its primary source of major contracts is through NASA. Currently, Astrobotics is constructing the Peregrine Lunar Lander slated for launch in December 2023 that is poised to carry out the first commercial mission to the Moon and be the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Apollo program.
“We’re deeply grateful to the Governor for his support of Astrobotic’s growth plans. We believe Astrobotic’s latest expansion on Reedsale is a clear indicator of new high tech growth in the Commonwealth, particularly in the space industry,” said John Thornton, Astrobotic CEO. “We’re excited to continue working with Governor Shapiro and Sec. Siger to build on Astrobotic’s progress, and make Pennsylvania a nationally recognized center of space and defense innovation.”
“It takes a good partnership between the private and public sector – and it takes a good team that you see, the elected officials right here, in order to make things happen. You have to have a good team that has a vision and a dream to come together to build a new industry in our region,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “That couldn’t happen today if we didn’t have an early holiday gift from the Governor of $4 million to make sure that we can redevelop an old building, turn it into something new with a supply chain that for Western Pennsylvania that will benefit the overall development of our area. That’s what makes job growth great – and that’s what makes this region extraordinary. We continue to come together to build one of the best economies in the nation and land in the United States – and we couldn’t do it if we didn’t have visionaries.”
“Thank you, Governor Shapiro, Secretary Siger, John, and Stefani for including me in today’s out-of-this-world announcement. This kind of partnership with the state is critical for the next phase of job growth here in Allegheny County,” said Allegheny County Executive-Elect Sara Innamorato. “Announcements like today set an excellent precedent on how we can maximize public investment in the private sector to create jobs, accelerate innovation, and build on the collective community vision. With this kind of partnership, we’re effectively building up an entire space economy and its related supply chain. I’m so pleased to have partners like Governor Shapiro and Secretary Siger as we work with local leaders like John and Stefani to lead the business community to help make these visions a reality. This is what the next generation of economic growth in Pittsburgh is going to look like.”
“Allegheny County has long had a history of innovation – it’s in our DNA, and Astrobotic’s work reflects exactly that,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We’re delighted to see them expand here in the county, and look forward to all they will continue to do to contribute to our local economy, but also expand our horizons to the moon and beyond.”
“On behalf of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, I congratulate Astrobotic on its expansion. This is a testament to the company’s grit, determination and drive for success, which has been evident since its founding in 2007,” said Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman. “The majority of Pittsburgh’s regional business investment comes from existing businesses, and homegrown companies like Astrobotic showcase a transformative journey from a two-person startup to a thriving enterprise of 200-plus, significantly contributing to the local economy. Astrobotic’s leadership in taking America back to the moon reinforces Pittsburgh’s reputation as a hub for moonshots and ambitious ventures.”
The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team (GAT), an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the Governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth’s investments in Astrobotic have helped the Pittsburgh-based company create hundreds of new, high-paying jobs that have enabled Pennsylvania to lead America back to the moon.
The Shapiro Administration will continue to spur job creation, invest in manufacturing innovation, cut red tape for businesses, and provide funding to make the Commonwealth more competitive on a global scale. For more information, visit shapirobudget.pa.gov.
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