COLORADO SPRINGS — A group of students from Falcon Aerolab visited the Challenger Learning Center to simulate a mission to Mars. The move not only helps guide them towards a career in STEM but teaches them about one of the most impactful and growing industries in the Colorado Springs economy: Aerospace.
The aerospace industry is growing rapidly amid a new age of space exploration. The Pentagon has more than doubled its budget for space programs since 2005, according to a report from The Space Foundation.
The Colorado Springs Economic Development Chamber says that the aerospace and defense industry attribute 40% of our local economy and employs 111,000 people. That brings in $7 billion annually to Olympic City.
Bruce Bookout is a Program Manager for a substance called Acusil at Peraton. With over three decades in the industry, he says he's not surprised at all by its growth.
"In my opinion, we do more than almost any other state. you say 'Houston is the best place for space operations' nah, not compared to what Peterson and Schriever are doing," said Bookout.
He says that the growing industry has several benefits for the local economy.
"A good economy, for resources to feed them, to house them. It also feeds into the school system because you're not going to have a bunch of high-tech, well-paid people saying 'we want mediocre schools here' no, we want STEM schools, we want their children to be as professionally trained as they are," he continued.
The space industry is slated to reach a trillion dollars by 2040.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.