We are eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed from a partnership of the University of Colorado, a national leader in aerospace engineering, and Sierra Nevada Space Systems.

Our mission is to support the creation and development of an important national resource - entrepreneurial space companies; to commercialize the technologies that they create; and to develop a diversified 21st century workforce to catalyze their growth.

From left to right: Mike Joyce - Founder, Next Giant Leap
Diane Dimeff - Executive Director, eSpace
Lori Garver - Deputy Administrator, NASA
Mark Sirangelo - Corporate VP & Chairman of SNC Space Systems Board,
Sierra Nevada Corporation


The business of Space is unique; the technological challenges, the extreme cost of hardware failure, and the premium placed on a successful performance record result in entrepreneurial space companies evolving in an environment unlike that of any other industry.

Characteristics of the aerospace industry that create unique opportunities for entrepreneurial growth include:


Fertile Ground:

That aerospace is fertile ground for the formation of entrepreneurial companies.

Innovation Engines:

That entrepreneurial space companies are a national resource. They are "innovation engines," creating technologies that transform how we reach and utilize space.

Source for Important Technologies:

That entrepreneurial space companies are an important source for technologies and innovations that can improve life on earth.

Education from Partnership:

That the most effective education comes through partnerships between academia and industry, and that by educating the aerospace workforce through such a collaboration, we can help create individuals who are extraordinarily well qualified to support our aerospace industry into the next millennium.

eSpace Impact:

That by serving as a catalyst to the formation of entrepreneurial space companies, eSpace will stimulate a thriving entrepreneurial aerospace community that will support the development of a fresh, diversified aerospace workforce and commercialize new, important technologies that will change how we get to, explore, and utilize space, making it more accessible and affordable.

  • There are abundant sources of research and development funding from the US government through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program, Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) grant program, Broad Agency Announcements (BAA's) and non-recurring development (NRE) intensive programs.
  • The customer will frequently fund technology development, while the newly formed company retains the technology rights for broader market application.
  • Within aerospace there exists a persistent drive to outsource to nimble and efficient entrepreneurial space companies and a continuing commitment from prime contractors to support these company as they grow.
  • High-value contracts can occur that enable company break-even early in its growth.
  • The governmentís recent move to commercialize space transportation creates unprecedented opportunities for aerospace entrepreneurs to create new companies that support this mission.

Challenges to aerospace entrepreneurship include:

  • High barriers to entry can exist in an industry dependent on incumbent providers that have a demonstrated track record.
  • Company growth rates and margins that may be lucrative to the company, but are longer term than traditional equity investors are familiar with, can limit this source of investment and business expertise.
  • There may be a need for highly developed, costly infrastructure to meet quality control, manufacturing control and testing requirements.


Boulder, Colorado is a unique location for achieving our mission:

eSpace is fewer than five minutes from the University of Colorado, providing an intimate connection to the world-class researchers, students, and facilities of one of our nation's leading aerospace engineering universities. The University of Colorado provides a rich source of commercially viable technologies and scientists to seed new space companies, while a talented undergraduate and graduate student population provides a high-value workforce to support new companies.