UC Berkeley and SKS Partners Unveil $2 Billion R&D Hub at NASA’s Ames Research Center

UC Berkeley and SKS Partners Unveil $2 Billion R&D Hub at NASA’s Ames Research Center

A joint venture between The University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco-based SKS Partners, unveiled Berkeley Space Center at NASA Research Park, a planned 36-acre innovation hub in the heart of Silicon Valley. As envisioned, the multi-phase development would accelerate the area’s existing innovation ecosystem, catalyzing deeper collaboration between the private, academic, and governmental sectors. 

The joint venture is dedicated to identifying, incubating, and launching technological breakthroughs across a diverse set of fields including astronautics, quantum computing, climate studies, and the social sciences.

Located within NASA’s Ames Research Center’s NASA Research Park, Berkeley Space Center would be designed from the ground up to foster a collaborative environment with the critical mass and infrastructure needed to expand the frontiers of knowledge and develop tomorrow’s defining technologies. Overall, the development is expected to generate considerable employment opportunities, including more than 6,000 advanced R&D positions.

With a focus on high-growth, high-impact sectors, Berkeley Space Center aims to further cement the State of California as a global innovation leader.

“California’s innovation and drive is not limited to Earth,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “Berkeley Space Center will help lead the state’s space tech development by bringing together top space leaders in academia, government, and industry to foster new technologies and breakthroughs.”

Built for Dreamers and Doers

Berkeley Space Center’s proposed master plan1 currently features 1.4 million square feet of Class-A office and R&D space, including wet and dry labs; as well as conference space, academic facilities, and retail amenities. The site’s current plans would also offer nearly 18 acres of open space, including outdoor working yards and a central green area which would serve as a flexible platform for community gatherings, activations, and exhibitions. Later phases of the project would include short-term stay facilities, and student and faculty housing.

The site plan prioritizes density, efficiency, and diversity of uses for tenants, with all designs geared to ensure a high level of environmental sustainability. The final leasable space is dependent on the final resolution of the master plan and environmental approvals.

Beyond on-site features, users of Berkeley Space Center – including established and start-up companies, researchers, and scientists, as well as students and faculty – would benefit from proximity to NASA’s Ames Research Center. Focused on conducting world-class research and development in aeronautics and exploration technology since 1939, NASA’s Ames Research Center features the world’s largest wind tunnel, which is capable of simulating gusts up to 100 knots, as well as The NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division, Arc Jet Complex and NASA's Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS).

Envisioned by a World-Class Team

Berkeley Space Center would build on and advance the University’s three-part mission of education, research, and public service, while taking advantage of the campus’ academic excellence and leadership in emerging fields of inquiry and exploration.

A trellis view of the Berkeley Space Center.

“This planned expansion of Berkeley’s physical footprint and academic reach represents a fantastic and unprecedented opportunity for our students, faculty and the public we serve,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ. “We are thrilled by the prospect of new collaborations that can speed the translation of discoveries by our world-class research enterprise across a wide range of disciplines into the inventions, technologies, and services that will advance the greater good. This is a prime location and a prime time for this public university.”

From NASA’s perspective, the Berkeley Space Center development would fulfill a nearly 20-year vision for an interdisciplinary innovation hub on-site at NASA Research Park.

“For NASA, this partnership has the potential to advance world-class research in aviation and space, thus helping improve life here on Earth,” said Eugene Tu, Center Director at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “More importantly, Berkeley Space Center could also help inspire the next generation of explorers through future collaborations with the University’s students, faculty, and partners.”

In addition to UC Berkeley and SKS Partners, the development team includes the following firms as co-master planners:

  • HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm known for its high-profile, large-scale projects, such as NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center in Pearl Harbor, HI, and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.
  • Field Operations, an interdisciplinary urban design and landscape architecture firm, known for the High Line and Cornell Tech Campus in New York City and the Presidio Tunnel Tops in San Francisco.

UC Berkeley has, to date, contributed approximately $1 million to the Berkeley Space Center joint venture, in the form of salary for faculty, staff, and students working on the project and the academic planning related to the new research park. If the project is approved, Berkeley Space Center would likely incur annual expenses of approximately $750,000 to support the salaries of faculty, staff, and students working on the project and at the site.

In return for its investment and partnership, the university would receive a portion of the revenues the real estate development is projected to generate. All told, the university estimates annual revenues of at least $40 million from multiple project-related sources, including grants, research funding, philanthropy, industry partners, fees and the income earned from the real estate revenue.

The priority for university revenues will be the funding of those expenditures needed to ensure Berkeley Space Center is self-sustaining, with any ancillary or secondary financial benefits extending to the core campus, its departments and colleges, and faculty and students. There are also likely to be additional financial benefits derived from the incubation and commercialization of emerging companies born from translation research and technology created at the site.

Building a Low-Carbon Future

For the joint-venture partnership, Berkeley Space Center is an opportunity to redefine how large-scale developments are designed, constructed, and managed not just from the ground up, but from the underground up. The grounds and the buildings would serve as a testbed to pioneer and advance novel low-carbon design and construction practices.

The development team of Berkeley Space Center has a growing list of ambitious environmental sustainability goals, which at present include:

  • Pursuit of rigorous building certifications, both LEED and other
  • Installation and use of alternative low-carbon energy sources, such as photo-voltaic panels for power generation in place of natural gas
  • Diversion of the majority of on-site waste
  • On-site treatment and retention of stormwater
  • Use of recycled water for both landscaping and within buildings themselves
  • Multiple modes of movement and transportation to and within the site, with a focus on pollution-free mobility
  • Phytoremediation, whereby Berkeley Space Center’s landscape design and maintenance will heal groundwater aquifers

"Similar to how innovations in aerospace research pushed the physical boundaries of where humans can go, Berkeley Space Center aspires to establish new standards for how buildings are designed, constructed, and operated to minimize the carbon impact," said Dan Kingsley, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of SKS Partners. "UC Berkeley and SKS Partners share a commitment to building a carbon-free future for humanity, and Berkeley Space Center is the ideal incubator to develop new ideas to achieve that goal."

Project Timeline

The environmental entitlement process has commenced and is expected to last approximately two years, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in 2026.

The joint-venture partnership has selected CBRE to market the R&D space for lease. The leasing team is ready to initiate discussions with prospective tenants interested in built-to-suit opportunities.

Click here to learn more about Berkeley Space Center at NASA Research Park.

Publisher: SatNow
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GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013