Colorado's Aerospace Industry is at the Center of Space Exploration

     Colorado's Aerospace Industry is at the Center of Space Exploration

PR Newswire

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 9, 2013

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --This week, aerospace
leaders from across the nation and around the world will be in Colorado
Springs at the 29^th National Space Symposium to discuss the future of space.

With the retirement of NASA's space shuttle program and a shrinking national
budget, it would be easy to assume that the future of mankind's race to space
has come to a standstill.

But in reality, private companies are forging aheadto develop programs and
spacecraft that allow the future of space exploration and human spaceflight
to not only stay in orbit – but travel way beyond.

This collaboration is most apparent in Colorado, which ranks first in the
nation for its concentration of private aerospace employees and which has seen
a remarkable 19.3 percent increase in its aerospace economy over the last

"Colorado is a mile closer to space and home to some of the nation's most
innovative aerospace companies including United Launch Alliance (ULA), Sierra
Nevada Corporation, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, and Ball Aerospace
& Technologies Corp.," said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic
Development Corporation. "Being in Colorado allows these companies great
synergy and innovation that allows them to get a5,280-foot head start on the

An Aerospace Economy Thriving on Partnerships

Since last year ULA, the preferred company to send government satellites into
space, has worked with NASA to update the design of its Atlas V rocket in
order to carry humans into space.

Already, the Atlas V is scheduled to launch Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC)
Dream Chaser, an orbital space vehicle that is one of three remaining
competitors in NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Program.

Just this year, SNC, which has been working closely with the University of
Colorado at Boulder, announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin Space
Systems to work with SNC on NASA's Certification Products Contract and to
manufacture the next Dream Chaser composite structure. SNC also has several
other Colorado organizations who have participated in this program.

"The Dream Chaser program is a major element of our Colorado operation and our
success has been driven by the significant help we have received from our
teammates," said Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space
Systems. "We believe that creating innovative partnerships between industry,
government, and universities is the way that future space advances will be

Not only is Lockheed Martin working with SNC, but the company is also the
prime contractor to NASA for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the
nation's first interplanetary spacecraft designed to carry astronauts beyond
low Earth orbit on long-duration, deep-space missions. ULA will launch the
Orion flight test in the fall 2014 abroad its Delta IV rocket.

"These types of partnerships and programs are critical to ensuring the
successes of the nation's future missions to space," Clark said.

To Infinity and Beyond

In addition to Colorado's strength in space travel and exploration, the state
is also the nation's geospatial imaging capital. According to a study on
Colorado's aerospace economy released by the Brookings Institution this year,
Colorado's satellite-based services sector is growing by 8 percent annually.

"With the nation's second-largest aerospace economy and more than 400
companies working with the space industry, we're seeing that the benefits of
partnerships aren't limited to just the human space flight sector," said

A prime example of the state's cross-sector collaboration: just last year,
DigitalGlobe Inc. selected Lockheed Martin's Commercial Launch Services to
oversee the launch of the company's WorldView-3 satellite, with ULA providing
an Atlas V rocket for the mission. Ball Aerospace and ITT Exelis are
constructing the satellite to collect high-resolution space images for various
government agencies and private companies.

"Ball's relationship with DigitalGlobe on high-resolution earth imagery
solutions goes back more than a decade with the launch of QuickBird in 2001,"
said Robert D. Strain, Ball Aerospace president. "This successful dynamic is
truly a Colorado success story and will be enhanced when WorldView-3 joins
DigitalGlobe's constellation of commercial remote-sensing satellites following
launch in 2014."

A Supportive Political Environment

Even as the national government works to remedy its budget deficit,
politicians in Colorado are stepping up to let the aerospace industry know
that the state will continue to support legislation that will help the
industry grow and thrive.

State officials are currently working with the Federal Aviation Administration
to designate a spaceport in Colorado, which will expand Colorado's
competitiveness by developing new opportunities in commercial space
transportation, research, and development.

Colorado has also been extremely proactive in pursuing an FAA-approved
unmanned aircraft systems test site in Colorado.

"If people are curious if the aerospace industry is going to succeed, they
just need to look to Colorado to see how its companies are forging ahead for
the answer," said Clark.

To learn more about Colorado's space economy, visit the Colorado Space
Coalition's website at

Press Contact:Janet Fritz, Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation

SOURCE Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation
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