August 2012 eNotes

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DANDE Shipped to Air Force, CubeSat Awaiting Launch

Student-built satellites reach milestones

CU Undergrads Experience Weightlessness

Students conduct experiment on NASA aircraft...

DANDE Shipped to Air Force, CubeSat Awaiting Launch

The DANDE spacecraft designed and built by students at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium was shipped in July to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, where it will undergo final testing before launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX flight in 2013.

After loading DANDE onto an 18-wheeler, research coordinator Brian Sanders and five CU-Boulder students also took off for Albuquerque and have spent the last two weeks going through major testing in the AFRL clean room.

Dozens of students have worked on the nanosatellite since CU-Boulder was awarded an initial $110,000 contract from the AFOSR in 2007 to develop it according to proposal. The Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer, dubbed DANDE, which won the University Nanosatellite Flight Competition in 2009, is designed to measure variations in the thermosphere that create drag on orbiting satellites.

Meanwhile, another satellite developed by CU students under the direction of Xinlin Li and Scott Palo of the aerospace engineering sciences department and LASP, is awaiting launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base this month. The CubeSat carries the Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment, which was developed to study solar flares. For the latest information about the launch, go to

CU Undergrads Experience Weightlessness

CU undergraduates Mike Lotto, Andrew Broucek, Kirstyn Johnson, Chris Nie, Kyle Shannon, and Jared Yenzer got to experience the feeling of weightlessness for the first time July 19-20 when their team flew an experiment on NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft. The CU team , which included students from aerospace and electrical engineering, was one of 18 teams selected to go to Houston for this year’s Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.

“It was crazy—my mind didn’t know what to do at first,” said Johnson, adding that after the aircraft completed its first couple of parabolas—the flight pattern that produces microgravity—the students were able to adjust and conduct their experiment.

Developed with the help of faculty advisor Dave Klaus, the project was developed to study convective heat transfer in space using two copper plates suspended in a pressure cooker. Johnson, an aerospace engineering student who is also doing a co-op internship at Johnson Space Center, said the opportunity to develop a complete experiment, conduct it and get the results was really rewarding.

Chris Nie agreed: "This project was an amazing way to pursue our interests outside of the classroom and get some hands-on experience. The Microgravity University is good about requiring the students to participate in the entire engineering process, from initial concepts, to project requirements, to actual building and testing the experiment. We're now in the process of writing a final science report to share our results. The past year has been an unforgettable experience and the flight was unbelievable. It's something that everyone should try and do."

Space Grant Partners with Pre-Collegiate Program

Thirteen high school seniors participated in an “Earth to Space” class taught by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium for the CU Pre-Collegiate Development Program’s summer session.  

Students worked in pairs to design and build seven balloon payloads, which were launched on June 7 from the Crow Valley Recreation Area.  Each payload flew required components in addition to a student-designed experiment.  Payloads reached 99,000 feet during the flight.  The collaboration with the Pre-Collegiate Development Program is aimed at attracting students to the College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Space Grant program, when and if they decide to attend CU.

CU Pre-Collegiate students assemble after the recovery of the payloads in rural, northeastern Colorado.

Xcel Energy to Fund BOLD Math Workgroups

The BOLD Center received a $15,000 grant from Xcel Energy to fund the teaching by graduate students of Math Workgroups, supplemental math courses where students delve deep to solve calculus problems through collaborative learning practices.

Math Workgroups supplement classroom learning by allowing students to work collaboratively on concept-clarifying problems, essentially teaching themselves as they further the learning of their peers.

Xcel Energy invests in its local communities through its focus area grants to support nonprofit organizations like the BOLD Center that improve science, technology, engineering, economics, and math education.

Honors & Awards: August 2012

Congratulations to the following individuals on their outstanding achievements:


Katie Siek of computer science was selected to receive the Borg Early Career Award from the Computer Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research.

Vijay Gupta of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering was recognized with an award from the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science for his outstanding vision and leadership in the development of interdisciplinary research in hydrologic science. The award was presented in July at the consortium’s third biennial symposium in Boulder.

Mark Hernandez of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering has been selected to receive the 2012 HENAAC Education award recognizing the best and brightest engineers and scientists within the Hispanic community. The award will be presented in October at the 24th annual HENAAC Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The following awards will be presented at the Sept. 4 faculty/staff meeting:

  • Jeff Thayer of aerospace engineering sciences, Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research
  • HP Schaub of aerospace engineering sciences, Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching
  • Dave Meyer of electrical, computer, and energy engineering, Dean’s Award for Professional Progress
  • Sriram Sankaranarayanan of computer science, Dean’s Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty Member

The Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award will be presented on Sept. 28 to:

  • Leysia Palen of computer science
  • Won Park of electrical computer, and energy engineering
  • Se-Hee Lee and Ronggui Yang of mechanical engineering

New Faculty & Staff: August 2012

Welcome to the following new faculty and staff who are joining the college this month:

  • Jeff Parker, Research Professor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences
  • Karen Stiner, Accounting Tech, CADSWES
  • Yasko Endo, Research Support Assistant, Computer Science
  • Victoria (Tori) Masaki, Program Coordinator, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Carrie Olson, Administrative Assistant, CEAE, the Mortenson Center, and the Environmental Sustainability faculty cluster

We’d also like to congratulate the following staff members on their retirements at the end of August, and thank them for their service to the college:

  • Colleen Haddock, Accounting Tech, CADSWES
  • Myrna Raitz, Program Assistant, ITLL

Important Announcements

CUEngineering:  A publication for alumni and friends. Read the 2016 edition of CUEngineering magazine here.

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