Palmdale Aerospace Industry

Nestled in California's Antelope Valley, we take immense pride in our deep-rooted ties to the aerospace industry, an integral part of Palmdale's culture, history, and our region's distinction as America's Aerospace Valley. Come and experience the awe-inspiring marvels of U.S. aviation history up close.


The City of Palmdale, located within Los Angeles County, was the first city in the Antelope Valley to incorporate in 1962. Notably, during World War II, the Valley played a pivotal role as a significant production site for the defense industry, and its growth continued from that crucial period.

In 1933, the U.S. government built Muroc, now known as Edwards Air Force Base. The year 1952 marked the opening of Palmdale Airport and U.S. Air Force Plant 42, which Lockheed Martin later established a facility in. Boeing and Northrop Grumman also set up operations in Plant 42, further solidifying the city's significance in the aerospace industry.

Over the years, aerospace companies in the area have manufactured countless planes and jets for the U.S. government and military.

Aerospace Attractions to Visit

Blackbird Airpark

An annex of the Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards Air Force Base, the Blackbird Airpark resides on Plant 42 property.  Its primary mission is to preserve the remarkable history of the Blackbird aircraft. When you visit, you'll have the opportunity to admire several retired airplanes, among them the iconic SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, the D-21 drone, and the U-2D spy plane, all of which played significant roles in aviation and aerospace history.

Joe Davies Heritage Airpark

Adjacent to the Blackbird Airpark, you'll find the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark. Here, you can immerse yourself in the history of a collection of 21 (and counting) retired military and civilian historic aircraft that were either flown, tested, designed, produced, or modified at the United States Air Force Plant 42. The airpark offers a unique opportunity to explore a 1/8 scale model of the B-2 Spirit and an AGM-28 Hound Dog missile, among other significant aerospace technologies. 

Aerospace Companies in Palmdale, CA

Palmdale has served as a hub for aerospace research, development, and testing–and is a huge contributor to the nation's defense and space exploration efforts. The aerospace industry is a major economic driver in Palmdale, providing countless jobs and inspiring many impressive technological advancements. 

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works

Established in 1943 with the mission of pioneering America's first jet fighter, the continuously growing Lockheed Martin Skunk Works division comprises highly skilled engineers and scientists dedicated to cutting-edge (and often classified) aircraft research, design, and development projects.

The facility, which resides within Air Force Plant 42,  has been responsible for many iconic and secretive projects, including the P-80 Shooting Star, U-2 Dragon Lady, SR-71 Blackbird, F-117 Nighthawk, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Lightning II, among others. 

Northrop Grumman 

Northrop Grumman operates in the U.S. Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, where strict security measures and classification protocols are in place to maintain secrecy for developing, prototyping, producing, and testing highly classified military aircraft. This facility is best known for the F-35 Center Fuselage Integrated Assembly Line (IAL), the B-2 Stealth Bomber, and the Global Hawk Enterprise project.

Aerospace Attractions Near Palmdale

Edwards Air Force Base

Edwards Air Force Base has been a part of the development of virtually every aircraft purchased by the Air Force since World War II. Nearly every military aircraft in the U.S. since the 1950s has been tested on-site at Edwards. 

The grounds of the Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards (north of Palmdale) are closed to the public. Still, there are limited opportunities to get on-site for special events and educational tours if you meet specific requirements. 

Accessible to Public

If you're interested in experiencing some aviation history during your visit without the need to enter the base, there are a couple of options to consider. Firstly, you can take a trip to the Century Circle display, which is situated just outside the West Gate. This exhibit is part of the Air Force Flight Test Museum and features six aircraft from the Century series of jet fighters, along with a YC-15. 

Additionally, you can check out NASA's B-52 Mothership Launch Aircraft prominently displayed at the north gate. It's noteworthy that there are plans to establish a new flight museum outside the base, which will expand the range of fascinating exhibits accessible to the public.

Aerospace Walk of Honor

You can explore the Aerospace Walk of Honor in Lancaster, commemorating the extraordinary achievements of experimental test pilots. As you stroll along West Lancaster Boulevard, you’ll encounter sidewalk monuments that serve as lasting tributes to the remarkable contributions made by pilots who flew at Edwards Air Force Base throughout their careers.