The State of Colorado ranks first in the nation in private sector aerospace employment per capita, with 162,680 space-related jobs and $3.2 billion in annual payroll. Colorado ranks as the third-largest space economy in the United States in 2014, behind California and Florida. There are more than 400 aerospace-related companies and suppliers in the state,and Colorado has seen 17% space employment growth in the past decade.
Colorado’s Space Coalition,a group of industry stakeholders that work to make Colorado a center of excellence for aerospace, brands the region as being “A Mile Closer to Space”.
Strong Existing Aerospace Cluster
Not only do top aerospace companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin call Colorado home, the Metro Denver region also has a strong cluster of companies involved with geospatial technologies, remote sensing, imaging and related industries. Colorado is also the nation’s center for military space, with major Department of Defense and NASA operations and space-based research.
Colorado received the fourth-highest NASA prime contract awards in the nation—more than $1.7 billion—in 2013. The University of Colorado ranked fifth among the top 100 public educational institutions for NASA research awards in 2013.
Low Business Costs for Aerospace Companies
In Spring 2014, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper passed a law that provides tax exemption for qualified property used in space flight. Companies that produce multi-million dollar satellites and space vehicles are able to store the equipment in Colorado without being taxed, which encourages major companies to bring their projects to the region.
Skilled Technical Workforce
Colorado is the second-most highly educated state in the nation, with nearly 38 percent of the adult population having completed a bachelor’s or higher-level degree. What’s more, in Lone Tree specifically, 62 percent of the adult population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
The University of Colorado Boulder’s (CU-Boulder) aerospace engineering sciences graduate program ranked among the top 10 in the nation. The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs ranked second among schools that do not offer doctoral degrees for its undergraduate aerospace engineering program (U.S. News & World Report, 2014).