Main menu


A space (technical) race begins in this medium-sized military city.

featured image

John Swarts

Colorado Springs – what locals call “The Springs” – is a center of rapid growth.Of nearly 500 defense startups in Colorado, half are in Springs

The space race has started again.

After decades of neglect after mankind landed on the moon in 1969, things turned around. Over the past few years, billionaires Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson have all been pretty much single-handed in their personal race to put tens of thousands of satellites, and possibly people, in orbit in the next few years. We have commercialized outer space.

Their willingness to spend small fortunes in pursuit of a large untapped space economy has attracted the attention of other private ventures, nation states and cybercriminals. What Chris Kemp, CEO of Astra Space Inc. (ASTR) calls “thrilling,” is a high-risk, high-return market. (Astra chief Benjamin Lyon, his engineer at Apple Inc. (AAPL), where he spent more than 20 years, helped design the iPhone.)

“Satellite launches have become a commodity,” said Scott Anible, chief operating officer of Delta Solutions & Strategies, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There’s a huge opportunity, the satellite is being revived, and it’s been going on for about 70 years.”

Colorado Springs, or “Springs” as locals call it, has become the center of rapid growth as the de facto ground zero and liftoff stage of the space and defense industry.

Of the nearly 500 defense startups in Colorado, half are in Springs. It was here that Cray began and MCI flourished. The region was inspired by AOL co-founder Steve in his case best-selling book “The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places are Building the New American Dream.”

Nearly half (44%) of the region’s GDP is powered by the region’s five military bases, including Fort Carson, Cheyenne Mountain Complex, and Space Force Base Peterson, and approximately 250 defense, space, aerospace, and cybersecurity companies. comes from the defense economy. The United States Air Force Academy was established in 1954 just north of the city limits.

“Colorado Springs is where the world’s space operations are headquartered,” says Frank Backes, senior vice president of IT security firm Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. Back in the 1950s,” the decision was made to build the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, a Space Force facility and defensive bunker, in nearby El Paso County.

The region is home to 34 federal laboratories and consortia, making it the largest concentration outside of Washington, DC. A converted railway depot built in 1917 is home to the Catalyst Campus, an active incubator with eight buildings and plans to expand within 20 years. Consists of 200,000 square feet to 1 million square feet of total space.

The Peak Innovation Park, a development adjacent to the Colorado Springs airport, is backed by three Inc. (AMZN) buildings, including the largest in the state and surrounding states. . Giant feet populated by thousands of robots that move products to the floor based on QR codes.

Patrick Bowman, Senior Property Specialist at Peak Innovation Park, told MarketWatch: “It’s like SimCity.”

According to CB Insights, Denver-Boulder-area startups raised more venture funding last year than Austin, Texas startups (around $5.5 billion).

space is a place

But it’s space technology (pardon the pun) that put this region of more than 750,000 inhabitants into a rocket-like orbit in recent years. After Neil Armstrong stepped into the moon’s greyish crust on July 20, 1969, the space program became temporary until his Space Shuttle program in the early 1980s. However, the Challenger disaster in early 1986 set things back again. Until a rowdy South African entrepreneur decided to go after Boeing (BA) and Lockheed his Martin (LMT).

Musk’s bombastic decision to use PayPal and Tesla’s wealth to launch SpaceX and break the status quo of established moguls follows previous innovations from PayPal Holdings (PYPL) and Tesla (TSLA) that challenged the banking industry. It reflected a good game plan. ), General Motors (GM), Ford Motor (F), and others forced a serious reassessment.

“Billionaire speculators like Musk and Bezos have had a major impact on the fundamental economics of space utilization with the advent of low-latency, high-performance satellites,” says Strategic Defense Initiative communications software. Engineer Bucks says. Remember the Star Wars defense plans under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s?

Most of the thriving startups in the region are directly tied to the Department of Defense and its lucrative contracts. Bluestaq, an expert in secure data management, says he has $330 million in contracts stockpiled, with a $1 billion potential in sight within five years, said Seth Harvey, CEO of Bluestaq. told his MarketWatch.

Bluestaq graduated from Catalyst Campus, an impressive labyrinthine campus focused on “unplanned clashes” between entrepreneurs, Barrett said.

Jim Lovewell, chief defense development officer at the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation, checks out the interstellar ambitions of this mid-sized city powered by a space economy, saying, “It’s small growth, and it’s smart. It’s about expanding,” he said.

– John Swartz


(Closed) Dow Jones Newswire

10-10-22 0722ET

Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.