Continuing to Bring Good-Paying Jobs to Coloradans & Boost Colorado’s Thriving Aerospace Industry: Polis Administration Announces Space Infrastructure Startup ThinkOrbital Chooses Colorado for Headquarters
DENVER – Today, Governor Polis and the Global Business Development Division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) formally announced that ThinkOrbital, a space infrastructure startup, has selected Colorado for its headquarters. In Colorado, ThinkOrbital will conduct research and development for its scalable, affordable, and autonomously assembled space structures, the ThinkPlatform, that will accelerate the commercialization of the new space economy and advance Colorado’s growing role in that transformation.
"Colorado is the epicenter of the aerospace industry, and we are excited to welcome ThinkOrbital to Colorado, bringing 60 new good-paying jobs to Coloradans and joining our innovative and collaborative aerospace community," said Gov. Polis. "With our own Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera serving as the National Chair of the Aerospace States Association and co-chair of the Colorado Space Coalition, our administration continues working hard to boost Colorado's thriving aerospace industry."
These platforms, which are configured for a single launch and assembled autonomously in orbit, can support multiple space missions, including in-space manufacturing, satellite servicing, space debris processing and storage, a variety of military missions, pharmaceutical development, and even tourism. By selecting Colorado, the startup will join approximately 400 aerospace companies advancing everything from space mining and the development of refueling stations to pharmaceutical growth. This growing network was one of the key factors in ThinkOribtal’s decision, along with the highly educated and skilled workforce prepared to work in such a cutting-edge industry.
“Our ThinkPlatform can scale-up to deliver 4000 cubic meters of internal volume in space through a single launch—that’s four times the volume of the International Space Station. Such large volume structures at an affordable price shift the industry’s perspective on what were otherwise viewed as limitations with in-space missions. Colorado presents a great opportunity to build and test our technologies on Earth, with access to a great talent pool, a rapidly growing new space industry and several US Space Force installations. As a graduate of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, I personally look forward to continuing a relationship with Colorful Colorado,” said Colonel Lee Rosen, US Air Force (Retired) and former SpaceX VP, now leading ThinkOrbital as Co-founder, President and CSO.
Following the award of two US Space Force Orbital Prime contracts in September 2022, ThinkOrbital started subleasing space in Lafayette, Colorado and is considering locations in the Denver Metro and Boulder areas. ThinkOrbital initially plans to focus on research and development and expects to create 60 net new jobs at an average annual wage of $80,433, which is 106% of the average annual wage in Denver County. The positions will include engineers, technicians, executives, and manufacturing professionals.
“Colorado companies are at the forefront of the commercialization of space. By selecting Colorado for its headquarters, ThinkOrbital will join them in creating good jobs for Coloradans and ensuring that our strong economy continues to include this important and growing sector,” said OEDIT Executive Director Eve Lieberman.
“Colorado has a critical mass of Aerospace companies and talent that continues to attract innovators to our region. ThinkOrbital’s decision to locate in the Metro Denver region is a testament to this. Seeing them start operations in Colorado within Orbit Fab, a past Metro Denver EDC project, shows how great companies and talent complement each other here in Colorado,” said Raymond H. Gonzales, President of Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation.
The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved up to $547,577 in performance-based Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits over an 8-year period for ThinkOrbital, referred to as Project Root throughout the OEDIT review process. The company, which also considered Florida for its headquarters, currently has 11 employees, one of whom is in Colorado.
About Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) works with partners to create a positive business climate that encourages dynamic economic development and sustainable job growth. Under the leadership of Governor Jared Polis, we strive to advance the State’s economy through financial and technical assistance that fosters local and regional economic development activities throughout Colorado. OEDIT offers a host of programs and services tailored to support business development at every level including business retention services, business relocation services, and business funding and incentives. Our office includes the Global Business Development division; Colorado Tourism Office; Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office; Colorado Creative Industries; Business Financing & Incentives division; the Colorado Small Business Development Network; Cannabis Business Office; Colorado Office of Film, TV & Media; the Minority Business Office; Employee Ownership Office; and Rural Opportunity Office. Learn more at oedit.colorado.gov.