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Five Fun Facts about the SEA North Satellite

March 25, 2024

Originally published 2019; Updated March 2024

Thanks for the memories, North Satellite. You’ve been a part of our film history and our travel moments since 1973. 

Goodbye 1973

Hello 2021! The North Satellite construction was completed in 2021 for a lighter, brighter traveler experience. 

Watch a video trip from the 1960s through the North Satellite's future

Here are a few fun facts about the past and present of the North Satellite:

1.  The most popular song on opening day was George Harrison’s “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)”

The building is now 46 years old and boy have times changed. Here’s a snapshot of what was happening on July 1, 1973 when the building opened:

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, the Musical, ended its run of 711 performances on Broadway
  • Richard Nixon was in the first term of his Presidency
  • The best-selling book was The Matlock Paper by Robert Ludlum
  • The most popular movie was Oklahoma Crude, directed by Stanley Kramer and starring George C. Scott and Faye Dunaway

2.  North Satellite passenger traffic has nearly quadrupled since 1973

You have probably noticed, but here’s a little more detail.

  • In 1973, the North Satellite averaged  3,300 passengers boarding per day
  • By 2016, that number had grown to 13,000 passengers boarding every day

The expanded facility helps manage passenger volumes by expanding the number of gates from 12 to 20. Travelers have more space and more choice in restaurants and shopping. And it provides more jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs to support the growing regional economy. 

Passengers waiting at Sea-Tac in the 1990s

3.   Annie and Sam almost met at Gate N7 

Gate N7 is where Annie (Meg Ryan) walks right past Sam (Tom Hanks) in the 1993 movie Sleepless in Seattle
We have so many fond memories of North Satellite and we know you do too.


N7 Gate

4.  The new building is larger than Seattle’s big sports moments

  • The 1973 building was 483 feet long. If you’re paying attention, that’s 18 feet longer than Ken Griffey Junior’s home run at the 1993 Home Run Derby. That slam hit the Historic Camden Yards warehouse building at Orioles Park in Baltimore 
  • The new and modernized building is 720 feet long, which is the equivalent of Husky Stadium plus CenturyLink football fields combined 
  • The new North Satellite building is 201 feet wide, which is three times as long as Marshawn Lynch’s Beast-Quake run of 67 yards

Camden Yards warehouse

5. Green is our region's favorite color

It takes some planning, but one of the Port’s highest priorities is to build an environmentally friendly facility  — using sustainable design, mitigating construction impacts, and operating the building with energy savings. The new facility will be the third Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-certified building at the airport that’s designed to maximize the health and productivity of travelers and staff, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease life cycle costs. 

There are many more eco-friendly strategies and features built into the new facility:

  • Using LED lights saves 1.7 million KWH per year, which is the equivalent of powering 170 homes
  • The facility’s roof captures 750,000 gallons per year of rainwater which will be used to flush toilets — the water-saving equivalent of 500,000 flushes per year
  • Building materials were locally sourced, sustainable materials that contain recycled content and wood that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
  • What's happening to that famous carpet? A little bit will be saved as a piece of history, but most of it will be recycled. In fact, 95 percent of the construction waste from the old North Satellite was recycled and diverted from the landfill

The old carpet at the North Satellite

Camden Yards photo credit:

"Oriole Park at Camden Yards"by yorgak is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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