Sierra Nevada Systems, SpaceX to help Denver-Boulder area become Silicon Valley of space?

Categories: Tech

Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser.jpg
Sierra Nevada
The Dream Chaser
These days, as the government slashes NASA's budget and entrepreneurs start making inroads towards the heavens, the space race is increasingly becoming a private-sector enterprise. The development could bode well for the Front Range. Indeed, the Denver-Boulder area may just be perfectly positioned to become the Silicon Valley of the galaxy.

Take Sierra Nevada Space Systems. The longtime defense systems electronic firm based outside of Denver has lately been making inroads into the space industry, and last year won $20 million from NASA for its development of Dream Chaser, a new breed of] space plane. Sierra Nevada -- not to be confused with the beer company -- was recently spotlighted by the New York Times as the biggest success stories in the government's recent decision to scrap its next generation of space shuttles and instead look to commercial operations to pick up the slack.

Among the other significant winners is SpaceX, a headline-grabbing space start-up that includes on its board of directors Kimbal Musk, the Boulder-based tech entrepreneur and owner of The Kitchen.

Need more proof that the Front Range has the right stuff? There's also the eSpace Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a Boulder-based business incubator founded by Sierra Nevada Space Systems and the University of Colorado -- itself a big player in space research -- that aims to help get new space innovators off the ground. And as we know from the likes of TechStars and Next Big Sound, Boulder seems to have the magic touch when it comes to incubators.

All in all, it's quite the line-up. It seems like all we're missing around here is a launch pad. Think some of those soccer fields at Dick's Sporting Goods Park could do double duty?

More from our Tech archives: "Coolerado: Slate singles out Colorado AC company as poster boy of cleantech."

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Is there a reason you left off front range companies Ball Aerospace, United Launch Alliance, and of course, Lockheed Martin Space Systems?


Better not tell Bigelow Aerospace that corporatiins won't industrialize space - they're preparing to do it. In 2014 they start launching the componrts for CSS Alpha; one of several commercial space stations to be used by companies and countries that can't afford tickets to use the International Space Station.

Bigelows partners include Lockheed Martin (launch services), SpaceX (launch services) Boeing (spacecradt), NASA (the CCDev program) and several countries.

NewSpace is very real. get used to it.


"... the space race is increasingly becoming a private-sector enterprise" -- nonsense! The United States is abdicating its leadership in space exploration to other nations. The consequences for our national psychology, prosperity, and security will be dire. Our flacid media have no understanding of or interest in science or in history. We need a sustained program to realize economic benefits from space besides geosynchronous communications satellites, GPS, and satellite phones -- the time-scale of investment is much longer than that which any corporation would ever be interested. Space tourism will NOT explore the Moon or industrialize space!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Thanks for filling in the gaps in your comment, moonjest. Much appreciated.


Is that Newspeak?

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