As Colorado Springs gears up for one of the most important industry events of the year, the Space Foundation’s 34th Annual Space Symposium (April 16-19), our aerospace economy continues to thrive. The event, which brings together leading aerospace professionals from around the world, includes four days of networking events, lectures and discussions on pressing questions related to space and technology. Last April, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos attended the symposium and revealed his plans to bring tourists into space with his aerospace startup, Blue Origin.
Currently, Colorado Springs boasts the second-largest aerospace economy in the U.S., with an annual impact of $12 billion thanks to more than 240 aerospace/defense companies and a strong military presence. As new aerospace developments take place across the country, Colorado Springs remains top of mind for several reasons.
With five military installations in Colorado Springs, commercial companies work in tandem with the Army and Air Force establishments. Companies such as Boeing, Polaris Alpha, and Boecore operate on highly classified military projects and have a substantial footprint in Colorado Springs’ aerospace industry.
Recently, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) – an arm of the Department of Defense that seeks to bring commercial solutions to military challenges – introduced a platform to three Colorado Springs tech startups to solve an interesting problem. Rim Technologies, Aspen Logix and Spectrabotics came together and designed Spacebook, a data sharing platform designed to bridge the gap between commercial, government, foreign and civil organizations that all have varying access to space-related data.
Ultimately, this resource will create better predictive modeling for space weather, improved satellite tracking and more affordable data-sharing services. Though it only recently launched, Spacebook has received such strong support among commercial, international and academic partners, that they plan to move forward with their beta product this spring, positioning Colorado Springs as a leader in 2018 aerospace tech development
A Strong Private Sector
With a multitude of private aerospace companies, Colorado Springs is a leader in innovation and research. According to CNBC, the space race has picked up significant traction in recent years as technological advancements are pursued in Russia, China and the U.S. Colorado Springs has become a key player in this race, with NASA repeatedly seeking out technology from Colorado-based companies for different space initiatives, such as the development of Orion – the Space Shuttle’s successor – from Lockheed Martin.
A Motivated, Young Workforce
For established companies in Colorado Springs, there are a variety of aerospace education programs offered in the area. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs is currently the leading contributor to the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, a NASA-led program that gives students hands-on experience with telescopes and satellites, innovative courses and outreach programs. Similarly, the United States Air Force Academy boasts the No. 2 program in the country for aeronautical engineering, according to US News & World Report.
Between the world-class education programs, diversity of private companies and increased support for homegrown initiatives, aerospace continues to fuel our economy. To learn more about this growing industry, download our aerospace & defense profile or contact our team for more information.