Visionary stages unveiled for Pittsburgh space district

PITTSBURGH — Elected officials joined forces with space industry leaders on Thursday to unveil preliminary plans for a space district in Pittsburgh.

Channel 11 first told you about the proposed “Space and Defense Innovation District” last week. It’s being launched by the Keystone Space Collaborative, a non-profit that supports space innovation in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

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During a conference event on Thursday afternoon, Board Chair Justine Kasznica said that the organization remains committed to a regional mission, but is now seeking to establish a physical footprint on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The North Side is already home to Astrobotic Technology, which is preparing to send a lander to the moon.

Astrobotic CEO John Thornton was on a panel during Thursday’s event and stressed how the district will seek to engage and involve the surrounding community.

“This is an opportunity to use space to bring us all together,” he said.

Kasznica told Channel 11 that the district will be “multi-faceted” and is currently in the visionary stage. The hope is to establish an “industry cluster” with office space, while also offering education, entertainment, retail, and even residential space for the community.

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A map showing spots for “potential development” was presented during the forum. The district could encompass areas along the river, or take over open parking lots near Acrisure Stadium.

Kasznica said that they’re eyeing a “blend” of private and city-owned land, and are working to secure development rights.

According to CNBC, the space economy could become a $1.4 trillion market by 2030.

Leaders told Channel 11 that they expect the district to pump money back into the local economy.

Congresswoman Summer Lee and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey offered their support for the public-private partnership on Thursday. Carnegie Science Center Director Jason Brown and Mirasol CEO Steve Winn served alongside them on the panel.

It’s unclear when exactly development will start. Channel 11 will continue to follow this developing story.

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