Aerospace & Defense

5,280 feet and counting

The aerospace and defense industry is a crucial component of Colorado’s technology economy.  Also, because of Colorado’s geographical location, it provides one-bounce satellite communications to Europe and Asia, and due to our Mountain Time Zone, Colorado companies can efficiently conduct business with both continents during the same business day.


Colorado has approximately 25,120 private-sector aerospace and defense workers and approximately 170 companies that develop products from launch vehicles and satellites to command and control software, sensors, and navigation equipment.   If you add suppliers and related businesses, Colorado has more than 162,210 workers in more than 400 businesses statewide according to the Colorado Space Coalition.  
According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation's Aerospace Industry Cluster Profile, Colorado ranks first in the nation for its 2015 concentration of private-sector aerospace employment (25,120).  The 2014 average salary for an aerospace and defense worker is $129,590 ($103,570 nationwide).  An approximate total of $3.2 billion was spent in 2014 for Colorado’s aerospace payroll.  There are 27,740 military personnel located within the state for a total of 52,860 direct jobs in the state.  
The Aerospace Industry Cluster Profile reports that the Aurora/Denver metro region ranks first out of the 50 largest metro areas for private aerospace employment with 19,520 workers in 2015.  And Aurora is a major driver in the aerospace industry in Colorado - more than one-third of Colorado’s direct aerospace jobs are located in the city and at Buckley Air Force Base. 
The Aurora Economic Development Council is a member of the Colorado Space Coalition, a group of stakeholders in the Colorado space industry whose efforts support and promote the industry regionally and nationally.  We are also a leading member of the Colorado Space Business Roundtable, an organization that creates venues for large and small aerospace companies to interact and identify mutually beneficial business opportunities.  

Buckley Air Force Base

Aurora’s Buckley Air Force Base is home to the 460th Space Wing and provides global infrared surveillance, tracking, and missile warning for weather and homeland defense and provides combatant commanders with expeditionary warrior airmen.  Buckley is home to more than 83 other tenants representing every branch of service and components – Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve as well as the Aerospace Data Facility - Colorado.  The base has an annual economic impact of nearly $1 billion to the region.

Spaceport at Front Range Airport

Front Range Airport delivers a full range of services for commercial, corporate, and private aircraft. Created in 1982 to serve as a general aviation reliever airport, Front Range Airport is now the largest general aviation airport in Colorado.  With its unique location just 22 miles from downtown Denver and six miles southeast of Denver International Airport, Front Range Airport offers both proximity to a major airport hub and access to a large, educated labor force, as well as the remoteness needed for space vehicle launch. 
Front Range Airport has applied to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to become a licensed spaceport to serve as a launch site for suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV) and as a test site for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).  Space flights from Front Range Airport would take off horizontally like any standard commercial airplane, but after reaching an altitude of 50,000 feet, the aircraft would maneuver into a vertical position to ascend into its suborbital flight pattern.  With the second ranked aerospace economy in the United States and abundant military and space resources, Colorado is an ideal state for spaceport designation.  Furthermore, Front Range Airport would be an effective partner for Colorado’s military entities in need of a test site for UAV's. 

In the Company of Leaders

Raytheon Company, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company all have major operations in the city of Aurora.  In fact, Raytheon is the city’s second largest private employer with more than 2,360 employees (Northrop Grumman has 750, Lockheed Martin has 600, and The Boeing Company has 240).