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The Aerospace Corporation announces major expansion

On Thursday, the Department of Defense announced that Russia recently tested a new type of satellite already in orbit that is believed to be capable of targeting and taking out other satellites.

It's the latest confirmation that threats in space to our way of life and military operations are real, serious, and increasing.

However, this new threat is also creating opportunities in Colorado Springs.

The Aerospace Corporation first arrived in the Pikes Peak region back in the 1970's.

Among the company's many notable projects was establing the Global Positioning System (GPS) which is an integral part of daily life, used in everthing from cell phone tracking to ATM transactions.

Aerospace still helps to maintain and operate that system today, and it's one of many roles of growing importance in the mission to utilize and defend space assets.

"With the establishment and really the rationale behind the establishment of both the US Space Force and US Space Command is the recognition that space is a warfighting domain," explains Jean Michael, the company's General Manager of the Space Enterprise and Warfighting Division in Colorado Springs.

"This is a highly technical domain, and that is Aerospace's niche, to provide that expertise to the government to allow them to make progress and to keep it the safe place we would like it to be."

This week, Aerospace announced their local operation will nearly double in size, a $100 million expansion that will create roughly 200 new positions in the new building to be constructed on an adjacent piece of land.

"We've reached our capacity at this building," said Michael, "so the corporation and our board of trustees decided that they want to expand. They see a future here in Colorado Springs that will continue to grow, and we're excited to be a part of it."

Michael says The Aerospace Corporation would likely have expanded regardless of whether the new US Space Command was housed at a local base, but the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and EDC believes it's another vote of confidence in the city's ability to meet the industry's needs.

Reggie Ash, Chief Defense Development Officer, said, "Since the early 1940's we've had a workforce and a community that is accustomed to working with the military, and that means that we've got highly trained workers with classification levels as well, and that's very important to a company like Aerospace Corporation, as well as to military headquarters like US Space Command."

Ash believes the expansion at Aerospace is just the tip of the iceberg, with many similar expansions and relocations to follow, each bringing new jobs and expanding the tax base.

"While we do already have a lot of industry, we are the epicenter of national security space in Colorado Springs, it's going to grow even more once we receive US Space Command permanently," he said.

Back in May, Peterson AFB was named the temporary home for the next six years.

A final decision on the permanent home of US Space Command is expected in January of 2021.

Dozens of cities have asked to be considered for the permanent home, but unlike the selection process for the temporary home, the Department of Defense has not released a "short list" of finalists this time.

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Bart Bedsole

Bart is the evening anchor for KRDO. Learn more about Bart here.