Report: Space Industry Rising Again In Colorado, But Risks Remain

A new report, issued Tuesday by the Brooking Insitute, says that the space industry is rising again in Colorado--but several issues remain. The report found that the space industry in Colorado currently directly employs over 66,000 workers, and contributes some $8.7 billion in value to the state's economy, or 3.8 percent of the state's private-sector gross domestic product. The report said that Colorado's space activities and space technologies are "well positioned" to profit from expansion of the nation's military, civil, and commercial enterprise, across such areas as earth observation and weather forecasting, GIS, and satellite communications.

However, the report also noted that Colorado faces some threats, including a continued dependence on unreliable government budgets, new competitors in the industry, difficulties translating research into industry, and also lack of venture and startup capital for aerospace and space-related ventures. The report said that, in particular, with venture capital funding heavily skewed toward energy, software, IT services, and biotech--plus a lack of Colorado VC funds--Colorado's space economy entrepreneurs are at a disadvantage compared with entrepreneurs in other states.

The Brookings report outlined a number of possible steps for the state to bolster its position in the space industry, including helping local companies pivot to service adjacent, commercial markets; help improve collaboration between companies and research institutions; improve and attract the workforce; among other recommendations.

Photo credit: NASA