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Five Fun Facts about the Sea-Tac North Satellite

June 3, 2019

Thanks for the memories, North Satellite. You’ve been a part of our film history and our travel moments since 1973. But it’s time to say goodbye to the past and hello to a new and improved facility. 

Goodbye 1973

The North Satellite construction has happened in two stages to minimize the impact on travelers. The first five gates opened in January 2019 with several new dining options. After those gates were ready, operations transitioned to the newly expanded section and the full renovation of the 1973-era North Satellite is now in progress through 2021. 

Hello 2021

There are currently $3.7 billion of improvements in progress to make Sea-Tac more efficient and meet growing passenger demand. The North Satellite Modernization Project will make room for eight new gates for additional flights each day. The renovation includes a new rooftop-level Alaska Airlines lounge with Olympic Mountain views, improves the Concourse C Satellite Transit Station, and opens up the entire facility with natural light and views of the airfield and mountains. The building will be expanded from 160,000 square feet to 428,000 square feet, pushing 240 feet to the west and then adding a second story. 

The new facility will feature new amenities, more elbow room, and sustainable design. Setting foot into Sea-Tac’s North Satellite facility will mean stepping into natural light and views of the airfield and mountains, and enjoying  a world-class airport.

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

Here are a few fun facts about the North Satellite, both as it was and as it will be:

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 will help us to manage passenger volumes by expanding the number of gates from 12 to 20. Travelers will benefit through more space and more choice in restaurants and shopping. And it will provide 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.

 What’s your favorite North Satellite memory?

  • Share your memories in the comments on the Sea-Tac Airport Facebook and Instagram using #goodnightN7 for the chance to win a pair of commemorative North Satellite carpet socks. See the contest rules at the bottom of this page.

N7 Gate

4.  The new building will be 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 will be 720 feet long, which is the equivalent of Husky Stadium plus CenturyLink football fields combined 
  • The new North Satellite building will be 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 being built into the new facility:

  • Using LED lights will save 1.7 million KWH per year, which is the equivalent of powering 170 homes
  • A seven foot high and 30 foot long Living Wall of plants will bring the Pacific Northwest indoors
  • The facility’s roof will capture 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 will be 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 will be recycled and diverted from the landfill
  • Learn more about the Sustainable Airport Master Plan, the blueprint for changes at Sea-Tac Airport to meet future passenger and cargo demand while protecting the environment. 

The old carpet at the North Satellite

Contest rules:

For Instagram contest: US residents, valid only while supplies last. This contest is not affiliated with Instagram. Giveaway closes at 11:59 p.m. PST 6/20. Winners announced 6/25. Good luck!

For Facebook contest: US residents, valid only while supplies last. Entrants release Facebook and this contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook. Giveaway closes at 11:59 p.m. PST 6/20. Winners announced 6/25. Good luck!

Camden Yards photo credit:

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

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