Following the company's successful flight of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft under a new NASA programme in December, California-based SpaceX plans to open a new office near Washington, DC, the company says.

California-based SpaceX plans to expand its East Coast presence, opening a new office outside Washington, DC, the company says.

The office will be in Chantilly, Virginia, in the Northern Virginia technology corridor that is already home to many Internet and high-tech companies, including SpaceX competitor Orbital.

"We are excited to open offices in Chantilly," says Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and founder of PayPal. "It will provide us with valuable access to important customers and an exceptional talent pool as we continue to grow."

SpaceX, which already has more than 1,200 employees, has doubled in size every year since its founding in 2002, the company says. SpaceX expects to see similar rapid growth in the new Virginia office as its government and commercial customer base continues to expand.

Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX also has testing facilities in McGregor, Texas; launch facilities at the Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral and the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and offices in Huntsville, Alabams and Washington, DC.

Source: Flight International