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ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado is one of the best states for the aerospace industry, and a project more than seven years in the making has Adams County commissioners and Colorado lawmakers hoping it will grow that reputation.

On Monday at the former Front Range Airport, area leaders unveiled the Federal Aviation Administration-approved operator license for what will be known as the Colorado Air and Space Port.

“Adams County is the home of 21st century jobs and 21st century dreams,” Adams County Commissioner Mary Hodge said.

In 2017, Colorado ranked No. 1 in the nation for private aerospace employment as it relates to total employment. The industry supplies more than 55,000 jobs in Colorado.

“A lot of this is about taking risk,” Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne said. “Taking the risk to jump out, go into a competitive pool, and attract businesses that support that.”

The Colorado Air and Space Port will continue airplane operations.

The next move is for a company to apply for and receive an operating license for the Space Port, and it will need a license for the vehicles as well.

The vehicles used at the port won’t be typical space rockets, which launch vertically.

Instead, these aircraft and spacecrafts will launch horizontally, similar to an airplane, but with enough extra power to lift the ship above the upper atmosphere.

“It will give us a chance to launch vehicles into low earth orbit for research opportunities as well as eventually send vehicles to Sydney, Australia, or Tokyo, Japan, in a couple of hours,” said Congressman Ed Perlmutter.