Skip to main content

Aerospace & Aviation

Years before the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969, Houston was a pioneering hub in the aerospace and aviation sector. But the mission didn't stop at the moon. Over the decades, Houston scientists and engineers have helped with some of the world's biggest space endeavors, including running mission control for the International Space Station for nearly 20 years. Some of the sharpest minds in aerospace and aviation technology continue to chart a vibrant future for Houston centered around NASA's Johnson Space Center and one of the world’s only truly urban commercial spaceports.

Business Climate

Houston is home to 500 companies and institutions involved in aircraft or space vehicle manufacturing, research and technology or other air transportation support activities. Of the 50 largest aerospace manufacturing companies in the U.S., 10 have a presence in the Houston region.

Houston’s total trade in aircraft, spacecraft, and parts totaled $2.9 billion in 2019, and aircraft, spacecraft, and parts were Houston’s 11th largest internationally traded commodity.

Houston hosts the annual Space Commerce Conference and Expo (SpaceCom) at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, which brings together NASA, private sector companies and global space agencies to collaborate on new technology and initiatives. 


Space, Aviation, and Aerospace related firms and institutions

$2.9 Billion

Total Trade in Aviation


International Airports


FAA-Licensed Commercial Spaceport

NASA Johnson Space Center

For more than 50 years, NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston has led the United States and the world on a continuing adventure of human exploration, discovery and achievement. Every manned U.S. space mission since 1961 has been planned and executed from JSC. Every astronaut has lived and trained in the Houston area, every manned mission controlled here. The missions of tomorrow—to the moon, to Mars and beyond—are being planned today by scientists and engineers who call Houston home.

The bright minds at JSC have made advances in science, technology, engineering and medicine that enable humankind to explore our world and universe as never before, and to derive unparalleled benefits from that exploration. The Johnson Center’s $1.5 billion complex occupies 1,620 acres southeast of downtown Houston in the Clear Lake area. In its early days, the center led the Gemini, Apollo and Skylab projects. JSC now serves as NASA’s lead center for life sciences research and application, astronaut selection and training and mission control for the International Space Station.

JSC personnel direct industrial efforts to design, develop, build and upgrade piloted space craft and oversee many of the medical, scientific and engineering experiments conducted in space. As the center has evolved into one of NASA’s largest research and development facilities, the Greater Houston area has developed into an aerospace hub with a record of significant achievement and innovation.

The thousands of NASA employees and civilian contractors supporting JSC’s operations have created a rich talent pool of aerospace expertise, positioning Houston as a leader in the emerging commercial realm of space flight. JSC has played a vital role in powering the U.S. into the 21st century through technological innovations and scientific discoveries.

1,700+ Acres

Size of JSC Campus


Total Employees


Active Astronauts and Astronauts in Training

$4.6 Billion

Annual Budget

Looking for a toolkit for this industry?

Houston Spaceport

Houston Spaceport is an FAA-licensed, urban commercial spaceport offering unprecedented access to a thriving aerospace community. In addition to serving as a future launch and landing site for suborbital, reusable launch vehicles, Houston Spaceport offers laboratory office space, including technology incubator space and large-scale hardware production facilities.

As a center for collaboration and innovation, Houston Spaceport is unique among the other federally licensed spaceports. Located in the fourth-largest city in the U.S. and a major hub for aerospace and aviation activities, no other spaceport can boast such a connection.

Forming a part of the Houston Airport System and situated at Ellington Airport, the spaceport fits seamlessly into one of the world's largest international travel infrastructures. In addition to improving existing facilities and services, the spaceport continues to find new and groundbreaking ways to increase value for tenants and partners.


Developed Acres


Build-to-Suit Acres

53,000 square feet

Office and Lab Space

18 miles

Proximity to Downtown

Notable Employers
Industry Partners

HAS handled 4.5 million passengers in January ’23.

Need more information about the Aerospace & Aviation Industry? Your dedicated team member can help:

  • Assist in site selection analysis
  • Assist in evaluating and applying for incentives
  • Aid in the permitting process
  • Provide data on key business facilities
  • Facilitate and foster key introductions
Kevin Tipton
Senior Director, Aviation & Aerospace
Economic Development
Looking for the rest of our team?
Partnership Staff
Have someone from our Regional Economic Development Team contact you:

"The Houston Spaceport is being developed to ensure Houston stays relevant in commercial aerospace and aviation activities," he says. "Houston continues to hold a strong value proposition for companies looking to enter the aerospace industry with a unique set of advantages including the proximity to NASA's Johnson Space Center, unparalleled infrastructure through the Houston Airport System, and a strong talent base."

Arturo Machuca 
General Manager, Houston Spaceport

"There are a lot of intersections between energy and aerospace, and Houston's melting pot of global industries has turned the region into a hot bed for innovation with broader application of technologies."

Tim Kopra
Former NASA Astronaut, Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations, MDA

Related News

Related Events

Aerospace & Aviation

Strong, Diverse 21st Century Economy Forum - Aerospace and Aviation

Our reimagined Councils - now Forums - offer networking and in-depth discussions on topics centered around industries and initiatives moving Houston forward as a great global city. This Council will focus on…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners