California Space Authority


History of California Space Authority

In 1986, the first meeting of CSA's precursor was held in Lompoc, California near Vandenberg AFB (VAFB). For the next several years, local economic development and civic leaders, state policymakers, space company representatives worked together to establish Vandenberg AFB as California's premier commercial launch, research and education center. A key business development focus was to find alternative uses for the mothballed NASA shuttle facilities at VAFB, to bolster NASA's "Mission to Planet Earth" launches at the Base, and to the establishment of a NASA Center for Commercial Development of Space (CCDS) adjacent to the Base.

In 1994, the Central Coast Regional Technology Alliance (CORTA) was formed to actively foster space industry growth in the region and it set to work securing Motorola's Iridium Project launch manifest at Vandenberg AFB. The CORTA was a major player in establishing legislation to ensure California's niche in commercial space, working with local and state policymakers, including then-State Senator Jack O'Connell and then-State Assemblywoman Andrea Seastrand, who carried spaceport-related legislation exempting California based launches from State sales taxes.

With its success, CORTA received a State mandate in 1996 to provide commercial, military and civil space development support statewide. After changing its name in 1996 to the California Space and Technology Alliance (CSTA), the organization was designated the State's official Spaceport Authority, it prepared the first-ever California Space Strategic Plan, and it began managing the California Space Enterprise Development Grant Program (SEDGP), a state-funded effort to foster innovation in the space enterprise community. Approximately $7.5 million was managed over the life of the SEDGP.

In 1999, the first-ever Governor's Aerospace Summit was hosted by then-Governor Gray Davis, with CSTA as a co-sponsor. Industry members who joined in the conference were AlliedSignal Aerospace, Boeing, Business Transportation and Housing Agency, California Manufacturers Association, California Trade and Commerce Agency, Hughes, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Space Systems/Loral, and TRW.

The development of the California Space Strategic Plan bore further fruit in 1999, when Congress appropriated $8.5 million for the California Space Infrastructure Program (CSIP) and designated CSTA as the manager. The CSIP program assesses California's space infrastructure needs by soliciting input from industry and academic members and by making recommendations to Congress on projects that would enhance California's competitive edge in the space enterprise community. Approximately $88 million in space infrastructure projects to enhance California and promote space enterprise have been completed under this program.

With the new millennium, CSTA again changed its name to the California Space Authority, Inc. (CSA) to better reflect the larger role of space enterprise that had long since grown well beyond merely spaceports. In 2004 an update of the California Space Enterprise Strategic Plan was prepared, and a 2004-2006 edition was released which reassessed the focus and direction of the organization. Still designated by the State as the Official Spaceport Authority, CSA continues to work closely with the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency (BTH) and other state agencies to facilitate statewide space enterprise development. CSA continues to manage the federal CSIP program. Playing major roles in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Council on Base Retention and Closures, the "A-Team" formed to secure the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) project in California, and NASA's Centennial Challenge Projects, CSA continues to believe that its vision is to ensure that California leads the world in space education, research, technology, manufacturing, services and transportation.

In 2006, CSA created a new sister organization called the California Space Education and Workforce Institute (CSEWI). CSEWI's mission is to inspire parents, educators, and students to engage in California-based space-related education and to attract, integrate and retain a robust California space workforce.

The California Space Enterprise Strategic Plan was again updated in 2006/2007 with a 2007-2010 edition being issued in early 2007. Also in 2006, CSA was awarded a major U.S. Department of Labor grant called Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED).