In Maryland, even the sky’s no limit. The state is a launching pad of innovations in space exploration, environmental science, and severe-weather forecasting, as well as Department of Defense–related fields such as biodefense, cybersecurity, avionics, informatics, and weapons and ordnance testing.
The first visit from Earth to Pluto came from Maryland, in the form of the New Horizons mission—designed, built, operated, and managed for NASA by Maryland’s own Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore is both a NASA operations center and a world-class astronomical research center. And NASA and NOAA (headquartered in Maryland) teamed up to advance severe-weather prediction with the Joint Polar Satellite System.
Maryland is also a leading innovator in unmanned flight closer to the surface. The Salisbury Regional Airportin 2021. Naval Air Station Patuxent River and its auxiliary Webster Field Annex are two of the most important UAS sites in the U.S. They are complemented by a University of Maryland test facility designed to catalyze UAS commercialization—projected to create some 2,500 jobs and $2 billion in economic impact in the state by 2025.
A leader among the states in the percentage of professional and technical workers, Maryland also boasts the nation’s highest concentration of computer information and research scientists, as well as the fourth-highest concentration of aerospace engineers—twice the national average. And the University of Maryland College Park’s aerospace and engineering programs are among the best in the country.
With 350 research centers, 20 military facilities, and 60+ federal agencies, Maryland is tops in total federal obligations (per capita) for research and development at $17.7 billion. Industry giant Lockheed Martin has its headquarters in the state, while both Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton employ significant numbers of Maryland’s highly educated, high-tech workers.
Maryland is home to 15 of the top 20 aerospace & defense companies.
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