TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A rocket company planning to set up a factory in Tucson is good news for the job market---and for Pima County's efforts to create a cluster of aerospace businesses near Raytheon and Tucson International.
Vector Space Systems rolled an example of one of its rockets through downtown Tucson Thursday.
The company is building rockets for a growing market for launching very small satellites.
As more aerospace companies establish in Tucson, they help attract even more companies here.
Vector Space Systems chose Tucson as a good place to build its fleet of small rockets. But Vector's plans show a bigger plan for Tucson is getting off the ground too--a plan to make our area an even stronger tech center.
Vector builds rockets to launch very small satellites. It says the demand is so high it already has 130 million dollars in bookings and it will eventually hire about two hundred workers who will make an average of 70 thousand dollars a year.
Vector will launch at several sites in the US but the company's CEO says Pima County's Aerospace Tech Park will be a good place to build the rockets.
Vector CEO Jim Cantrell says, “The County came to me early on and said to me, 'We've heard about you. We're interested in putting you in the Tech Park and here are all the things we can help you with; and it's cutting red tape, it's making sure you're not treated unfairly. It's giving you opportunities to be in the Tech Park which is a great place to be."
But Vector's move to the Aerospace Tech Park shows a broader plan is taking off.
Vector will be the second company there.
The first is Worldview which makes and launches high altitude balloons for space tourism, research and military use.
Alex Rodriguez of the Arizona Technology Council says more companies moving in can convince other firms to move in too.
“It's a relatively small community in the commercial space market and they're all looking at Tucson and wondering why are these companies coming here? What do they know that maybe I don't and what is the opportunity for me as a space tech company as well?"
And as more companies move in, they should create a network of workers and suppliers to help them all thrive.