6 aerospace, defense and aviation companies soaring in San Diego

6 aerospace and aviation companies soaring in San Diego

Oct 18, 2019 - Heather Dewis

If you’ve always wanted to go to space, now’s your chance. Aerospace and aviation accounts for nearly one-fifth of San Diego’s innovation employment, and local companies are at the forefront of innovative technologies, like commercial satellites and unmanned vehicles. Here are six standout San Diego companies making strides in aerospace and aviation:

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1. Malin Space Science Systems – Sorrento Valley

Since 1990, Malin Space Science Systems has designed, built, and operated flight instruments for government and commercial space missions. Malin’s cameras are currently on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Science Laboratory, Curiosity rover, and Juno mission to Jupiter.
Want to work there? Check out Malin’s career site.

2. Northrop Grumman – Rancho Bernardo

Defense giant Northrop Grumman has long been a San Diego powerhouse. In April 2019, it debuted the “pilot-optional” Firebird aircraft. Capable of carrying out both civilian and military missions, the unmanned configuration of the aircraft can stay in the air for 30 hours at 25,000 feet and can monitor multiple situational areas.
Want to work there? Check out Northrop Grumman’s career site.

3. Planck Aerosystems – Central San Diego

Founded in 2014, Planck Aerosystems integrates artificial intelligence into drones to allow for launching and landing on moving vehicles. In August 2019, Planck won a $2 million contract from the United States Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) to integrate them onto tactical ground vehicles.
Want to work there? Check out Planck Aerosystems’ career site.

4. General Atomics – Poway and other San Diego locations

Founded in 1955, General Atomics develops aviation and nuclear fusion technology. Its Predator A unmanned aircraft, developed by Poway-based affiliate General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., has flown nearly six million flight hours and celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this year.
Want to work there? Check out General Atomics’ career site.

5. Viasat – Carlsbad

Carlsbad-based Viasat is known for its communications satellites that provide high-speed internet to both commercial and government aircraft, including Air Force One. In 2018, U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency awarded Viasat a $55.6 million contract to enable in-flight broadband access for senior government officials and special mission aircraft.
Want to work there? Check out Viasat’s career site.

6. Space Micro – Rancho Bernardo

Since 2002, Space Micro has designed processors and cameras for government and commercial satellite missions. Recently, the company developed the data transmitter for NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which launched in April 2018. TESS is a NASA mission that surveys the sky for exoplanets around nearby stars.
Want to work there? Check out Space Micro’s career site.

Want to learn more about San Diego’s aerospace and aviation innovation? Read about Southern California aerospace industry growth in a 2016 report in partnership with the Los Angeles EDC.

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