With the final launch of Atlantis marking the end of the space shuttle program in July, CU-Boulder will look back at a rich, 30-year relationship that involved numerous alumni, faculty, and students from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Of the 19 astronaut-affiliates from CU ― 18 from CU-Boulder and one from CU-Colorado Springs ― 16 flew on a total of 40 NASA space shuttle missions. The two who flew the most shuttle missions were Jim Voss (MS AeroEngr'74), a current scholar in residence, and Marsha Ivins (AeroEngr'73), who both flew five times.
CU-Boulder also has flown dozens of science payloads on NASA's 135 space shuttle missions. BioServe Space Technologies, a NASA-funded center in the aerospace engineering sciences department, has launched experiments on board space shuttles 39 times since 1991, using the low gravity of Earth orbit as a testing ground for a variety of agricultural, biomedical, and educational payloads.
CU also flew experiments targeting the mechanics of granular material three times on space shuttles -- in 1996, 1997 and 2003 -- led by Stein Sture of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, now CU-Boulder's vice chancellor for research. The tests allowed scientists to observe the behavior and cohesiveness of granular materials in microgravity and have led to a better understanding of how Earth's surface responds during earthquakes and landslides.
Three shuttle payloads also were designed, built, and flown by students from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium headquartered in the college. The payloads were flown in 1993, 1994 and 1997, and were dubbed ESCAPE, ESCAPE-1, and DATA-CHASER. >>Read more