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December 5, 2014   |   by Michael Bennet

The Next Giant Leap Into Space Begins in Colorado


Earlier today, NASA successfully completed the first test launch of the Orion spacecraft, the first step toward advancing our nation's space program and eventually carrying astronauts to Mars.

This is a huge step forward -- not only for our nation and the future of our human space program, but also for Colorado, which played a key role in Orion's development.

Two Colorado-based companies made today's launch possible. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, based in Jefferson County, built the Orion spacecraft, which will eventually carry humans back into space. And the United Launch Alliance, based in Centennial, built the Delta IV rockets that launched the vessel into space. I had the great pleasure to visit the teams on a tour of our aerospace industry back in 2013, and it's great to see all their hard work pay off.

This is just one example of Colorado's growing aerospace industry, which is bringing thousands of high-paying jobs to our state -- the kind of jobs that bring top talent and new investments to our state. In fact, Colorado's aerospace industry has already attracted more than 400 new companies and created close to 170,000 new jobs in the state, and we now rank first in the nation for private aerospace workers per capita.

The Orion mission is also a great example of the types of public-private partnerships we need to drive innovation in our country. It's an enormous achievement not only for our state and workforce, but also for the future of American competitiveness and innovation.

With today's successful launch, we'll be able to explore new frontiers of space, going faster and farther than we've ever gone before. I'm so proud that this new frontier begins in Colorado.


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