Boeing In Alabama Has a Long and Rich History 

Boeing in Alabama has a long and storied history, but if you are not from this state, you may not be aware of this fact.

Even if you live in this state with all of its rich history, unless you are from the northern part, you may also not be aware of the history surrounding this company.

Boeing, one of the largest and oldest aerospace industries in the nation, has played a vital role in the space and defense programs for more than 58 years in the state of Alabama.

Huntsville and its surrounding areas, which are considered to be one of the fast growing regions in the state, have been home to Boeing in Alabama since 1962.

Because of this, it has the highest ratio of engineers in the entire country, and when combined with the fact that its cost of living is 10% below the national average, it makes it ideal for this industry.

In the year 2019, the U.S. News and World Reports named Huntsville in the top ten of places to live in the country, and Kiplinger’s Magazine also named it one of the best places in the country to raise a family.

Currently there are over 3,000 employees that work at the companies two main facilities located in Huntsville, and they are located just off the interstate in this northern town.

The region is also the home to the Huntsville International Airport, the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal Base, as well as NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Combined with the city’s rich history as well as its culinary and art’s richness, it makes it truly one of the nicest places to live not only in the state, but in the country.

Boeing New Complex in HuntsvilleBoeing New Complex in Huntsville

The History of Boeing in Alabama

The history of Boeing in Alabama began in the year 1962, and in the 58 years that has followed; this aerospace industry has invested tens of billions of dollars into the state’s economy.

This massive aerospace company was founded in the year 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington, and today it is considered to one of the largest aerospace conglomerates in the entire world.

Its first major success happened during World War I, with the production of both military aircraft as well as seaplanes.

During the intervals between the World Wars, the company began to diversify into passenger airlines as well as cargo planes, which were used both commercially as well as by the military.

One of its major subsidiaries, United Airlines, was one of the first passenger airlines in the country that had regularly scheduled flights.

The company pioneered several important innovations in the design of aircraft, that included all metal construction, pressurized cabins, and more importantly, more reliable engines.

During the Second World War, it became a major producer of military aircraft, which included the B-17 as well as the B-29 bombers.

Shortly after the end of World War II, it emerged as one of the pre-eminent builders of both commercial as well as military aircraft not only in the country, but in the world.

During the Cold War Era, the company continued its expansion, and began to diversify into aerospace technologies that included rocketry and space flight.

It was during this time frame that Boeing in Alabama began to emerge and take its place in the emerging space exploration industry.

The company came to this historic state in the year 1962, to help fulfill the U.S. government contracts that were associated with the 1960’s “space race.”

In a tight race with the Soviet Union, the company began to intensify and further develop the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, which had been founded in the state in 1960.

It had been founded on the grounds of the Redstone Arsenal to serve as both the center of the American spaceflight programs, as well as its rocket research and development center.

The company along with other aerospace contractors very quickly began to develop their facilities either at or near the NASA site, in order to assist the government’s contract work.

Boeing in Alabama was officially established when the company set up an office in a local Huntsville hotel, where just a handful of employees worked to support the Saturn V Space program.

Some of the early projects of the company also included the Saturn SC-1 booster rocket.

This rocket is credited with propelling the Apollo space exploration missions, as well as the Lunar Rover that was used to explore the surface of the moon by U.S. astronauts.

Engineers from the company later helped to develop as well as assemble the Skylab Orbital Workshop, and the habitat module of the International Space Station.

Several of these programs that were used by the company were very similar to their defense applications, especially those related to rocket explorations.

Workers at Boeing in AlabamaWorkers at Boeing in Alabama

The Growth of Boeing in Alabama

The growth of Boeing in Alabama happened very quickly as employment grew and peaked to about 4,500 employees in 1966.

However, it declined very sharply a few years later, after the cancellation of the Apollo space program in the 1970’s.

But even after this cancellation, the company still employed thousands of people in Huntsville, and in 1984, they opened a major new facility near the Huntsville International Airport.

This facility soon grew to over 600,000 square feet, and today houses research labs, manufacturing plants, as well as testing facilities.

All of these assets helped to supports the company’s various high-tech aerospace projects, and got an added boost in the year 2006.

In 2006, the company teamed up with a fellow aerospace giant in the industry, Lockheed Martin, to form what is referred to as the “United Launch Alliance.”

Once this alliance was formed, they opened a facility in Decatur Alabama, near Huntsville, to produce both Delta and Atlas rockets.

Boeing in Alabama continues to be heavily involved in the Huntsville area, where they provide a very wide variety of both defense as well as aerospace expertise.

Some of their most recent projects include the Arrow Weapon Space System, as well as the Avenger anti-missile system.

The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 System and the Standard Missile-3 II B System are still more programs being worked on.

It’s largest subsidiary and the one that has the most presence in the state, is its Defense, Space, and Security components, as it manages the company’s defense and space exploration projects.

The city of Huntsville is also the home of another subsidiary company, the Boeing Rotorcraft Support, which helps to provide both engineering and technical support for its helicopter’s growing business.

In addition to its own employees, the company relies on more than 220 subcontractors, also located in the state, for major projects.

Huntsville Boeing FacilityHuntsville Boeing Facility

These subcontractors help to provide both manufacturing as well as specialized engineering support services, and as a result, make up a major source of secondary employment for the state.

In fact, the company has recently estimated that it has spent more the $510 million in direct purchases from these 220 subcontractors.

In the year 2013, the company announced plans to shift somewhere between 300 and 400 more engineering jobs to its Huntsville facility, all of which are located in other American locations.

This is part of a general restructuring of its engineering operations, and part of a cost-saving move.

In the year 2014, the company relocated many of its Huntsville office and research facilities to the newly opened Redstone Gateway Office Park.

In the year 2015, the company opened a Research and Technology addition, also located in Huntsville.

Boeing in Alabama also has several other key programs underway in the city of Huntsville that include Ground-based Midcourse defense, the PAC-3 Missile Seeker, and other missile defense systems.

Other programs include the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, the NASA’s heavy lift Space Launch, and the International Space System.

The company’s Research and Technology also helps to develop innovations that also apply across commercial, defense, as well as its renowned space programs.

With all of these projects and innovations, Boeing in Alabama is very much alive and well.


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