A little over a year ago, we celebrated the collaboration of Denver South companies that made missions to Mars possible. Today, we’re celebrating new and exciting developments from companies with large operations in Denver South that are leading us into the “final frontier.”

As the James Webb Space Telescope reveals its first images and begins to peel back the history of the cosmos, scientists across the globe are gaining new insights into our universe thanks in large part to work done right here in Denver South.

Lockheed Martin, which employs over 1,400 in Denver South and over 10,000 people statewide, created the 18 hexagonal mirrors that gather light waves and three secondary mirrors that focus light precisely on the telescope’s instrument. They are the creators of the “optical drivetrain” that make the James Webb telescope so powerful. Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center also made the primary imaging cameras that are capturing some of the first galaxies formed in the solar system.

Lockheed Martin is already a part of other areas of space exploration including “Lucy,” the space probe destined for a 4 billion mile journey to explore some of the rarest asteroids known to man. Lucy’s development and manufacture adhered to its rigorous mission schedule, in spite of the fact that much of its development was completed during Covid shutdowns. Its mission is to examine the beginnings of the planets in our solar system; to accomplish this, engineers at Lockheed Martin have given it proprietary software in order for the probe to operate almost autonomously. This critical software is at the the cutting edge of the industry’s capabilities.

As we celebrate the achievements of these area companies pioneering space and the furthest reaches of the galaxy, another exciting development coming out of Denver South is Louisville-based Sierra Space’s announcement they are building a “Dream Chaser” space plane that will ultimately provide transportation to space, orbiting destinations and helping to establish commercial activity in space. Their Denver South campus provides access to some of the most sought-after talent in Colorado, further cementing Denver South’s place at the forefront of space exploration.

Denver South’s reputation as an innovator in the aerospace industry is only being bolstered by the recent announcement that Star Harbor Academy is planning a 53-acre campus in Lone Tree, where people can learn to be astronauts and companies can develop space technologies.

“Already, 30 companies in the aerospace and aviation sector have operations in Denver South, and we have seen firsthand the innovation that has stemmed from this industry’s collaboration in the region,” noted Becky Nelson, Director of Economic Development. “We are excited to see what new opportunities and innovations arise as a result of this continued growth in Denver South.”


These companies – and their thousands of employees here in our backyard – are making the what seemed like a fantasy just a few years ago become a reality.  We are proud of all the role that our economic development efforts have played in making Denver South a home for these companies – and many others.  From developing new technology to building the vehicles that will get us there Colorado – and Denver South – are once again leading the way to exploring the “final frontier” and probing the mysteries of the universe.