The fact that we’re a mile closer to space is just part of the story

With the nation’s second-largest aerospace economy, Colorado is an aerospace leader and a premier location for companies conducting aerospace-related activities. 

Metro Denver Aerospace Employment Snapshot
Direct Employment 21,090
Companies 130
Five-Year Employment Growth (2012-2017) 7.3% (6.1%)
One-Year Employment Growth (2017) 5.5% (4.7%)
Direct Employment Concentration (2017) 0.9% (0.8%)
Average Wage $129,730
Employment Concentration Ranking (Among 50 largest metros) 1
U.S. data in ( )

The region is a top aerospace location, offering:

  1. The ability to recruit and retain technical and scientific employees and entrepreneurial talent
    Nearly 40 percent of Coloradans have at least a bachelor’s degree, the second-highest college attainment rate in the nation behind Massachusetts. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 American Community Survey)

  2. Proximity to vendors and customers
    • Colorado ranked No. 3 in National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) prime contract awards totaling $1.8 billion in 2016, or 13 percent of the nation’s total. (NASA, 2017)
    • Colorado’s aerospace cluster is anchored by eight large prime contractors: Ball Aerospace, The Boeing Company, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and United Launch Alliance.
  3. Proximity to colleges/universities
    • Two academic institutions in Colorado offer nationally ranked aerospace programs or degrees:
      • The University of Colorado Boulder’s aerospace engineering sciences graduate program ranked among the top four programs in the nation by the National Research Council and among the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report in 2017. (National Research Council, 2010; U.S. News & World Report, 2017)
      • The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs ranked second in the nation for an undergraduate aerospace engineering program where a doctoral degree is not offered. (U.S. News & World Report, 2017)
  4. Business organizations and public policy programs designed to encourage industry growth
    Colorado has one of the nation’s most favorable corporate income tax structures. The state’s corporate income tax rate of 4.63 percent is one of the lowest in the nation and is based on single-factor apportionment, which allows companies to pay taxes based solely on their sales in the state. (State of Colorado; The Tax Foundation)

It is this business-friendly atmosphere that has attracted the nation's top aerospace contractors to Metro Denver, including:

  • Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  • The Boeing Company
  • Harris Corporation
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Raytheon
  • Sierra Nevada Corporation
  • United Launch Alliance

The Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region also has a strong cluster of companies involved in geospatial technologies, remote sensing, imaging, and related industries. Additionally, with major DoD, NASA, and commercial activities, Colorado is the U.S. center for military space. The state's four military commands—the primary customers for space-based research, development, acquisition, and operations—ensure industry growth.

In 2017, Front Range Airport continued the application process for certification from the FAA to operate as a horizontal-launch spaceport facility. The subsequent designation for Spaceport Colorado, which may be granted in 2018, fulfills a 2011 declaration by Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado’s intent to become a spaceport state. The effort will increase Colorado’s competitiveness in the aerospace industry and support new opportunities in the future growth of commercial space research and transportation. 

Aerospace Day at the Colorado Capitol occurs annually to recognize the industry’s importance to the state’s economic growth. In 2015, the Colorado Legislature formed a bipartisan Aerospace and Defense Caucus to further support the continued expansion of aerospace and defense within the state.