Mayor Rex Richardson shakes hands with Kyle Dedmon, vice president of construction and facilities for Vast Space, after he announced the company was the city's latest aerospace company during his State of the City address Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Courtesy of Vast.

The world’s first artificial-gravity space station will be built in Long Beach following the announcement by Vast Space that it is relocating its headquarters to the city, joining the bustling space economy.

“Every day, new companies are choosing Long Beach to be their primary place of business,” Mayor Rex Richardson said Tuesday night during his first State of the City address, during which he announced Vast as the city’s latest space company.

Founded in Berkeley in 2021, Vast is developing a 100-meter-long space station that can house more than 40 people, according to the company’s website. The station spins to provide artificial Earth gravity, which will alleviate body deterioration during long-duration human space flight.

The station also will provide various microgravity environments, including Mars, moon and asteroid analog, which are necessary for many space-based activities such as manufacturing.

Vast is in the early design phase for its space station and expects to launch a scaled demo module in the next three to four years, Vast Chief Legal Officer Krystle Caponio told the Business Journal Tuesday night.

A rendering of an artificial gravity space station being developed by Vast Space, the latest aerospace firm to relocate its headquarters to Long Beach. Courtesy of Vast.

The firm is moving from its 7,000-square-foot facility in El Segundo, which it moved into shortly after its founding, and into two buildings at a newly constructed industrial complex at the corner of Spring Street and Orange Avenue. The buildings total nearly 115,000 square feet. The move and setup are expected to be completed during the first quarter of this year, according to Caponio.

The expanded digs will be necessary as the company projects to staff up from its roughly 40 employees to 700 by the end of 2027. The positions will primarily be engineering and manufacturing, Kyle Dedmon, vice president of construction and facilities, said during the mayor’s event.

In the future, when the first astronauts are aboard a Vast space station, Dedmon said he hopes Long Beach residents feel as much pride as the company does.

“We couldn’t be more excited for Long Beach to be our new home,” Dedmon said. “A project like this is only really possible in Long Beach because of the talent pipeline, the startup ecosystem, the transportation and infrastructure, and other initiatives.”

Long Beach’s aerospace sector reinvigorated by new companies, innovation with an eye on space

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Business Journal.