Asteroid mining company Karman+ plans to relocate its headquarters to Denver from the Netherlands in a boost for Colorado’s burgeoning space industry.
The European space resources startup will bring 150 new jobs to the state, according to a Wednesday announcement by Gov. Jared Polis‘ administration and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Global Business Development Division. Colorado won the new location over the United Kingdom and Luxembourg.
The company pointed to Denver’s quality of life, potential for collaboration with higher education institutions and “a state and national regulatory environment more conducive to advancing the development of space resources” as reasons it selected the state.
“As Colorado’s technology and aerospace industries continue to boom, we are thrilled to welcome innovative companies like Karman+ to Denver, one mile closer to space,” Polis said in a statement. “I believe Colorado is the best place to live, work and do business and this is clear as more companies choose to move or grow here.”
Colorado’s aerospace industry is dwarfed only by California in size, with 290 companies throughout the state, according to a report by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and the Colorado Space Coalition.
Karman+ says its mission is “to mine near-Earth asteroids to provide abundant, sustainable energy and resources for the space economy.” Its initial plans include mining for water — as opposed to platinum metals or rare earth minerals — because the substance is “essential for space propulsion.”
“Our goals are daring, and we like that,” said cofounder Daynan Crull. “Colorado shares our spirit of adventure and clearly supports space exploration through resources like the Space Symposium.”
Karman+, which is actively hiring, anticipates that its eight current employees will start moving to the Mile High City later this year. The company’s average annual wage is $110,620, and positions will include data engineers, marketing roles and market analysts.
Colorado will give nearly $1.3 million in Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits over eight years to the startup.
Karman+ — named after Hungarian-American astrodynamicist Theodore von Kármán — says it plans to use the tailings from its mining operation as a basis to build solar power systems in space that will “deliver electrical power in space and on Earth as non-intermittent sustainable electricity.”
“The addition of companies like Karman+ continues to position Colorado as a leader in aerospace,” said Raymond H. Gonzales, president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. “The company has all the ingredients they need for growth and success here: outstanding access to talent, customers and a collaborative aerospace community that’s second to none.”
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