Research Center Spotlight: FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation

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Spotlight on Research

The University of Colorado Boulder was selected in August 2010 as one of nine member institutions forming the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation (COE CST). COE’s are intended to be 10-year partnerships between academia, industry and government; in this case, to create a world-class consortium that will address current and future challenges for commercial space transportation. The center focuses on strategic research, education and training needed to encourage, facilitate and promote commercial space initiatives. The research is categorized into four major areas: space traffic management and operations; space transportation operations, technologies and payloads; human spaceflight; and space transportation industry viability.

CU-Boulder’s effort is led by Professor David Klaus, along with Professors George Born, Penny Axelrad and Dan Scheeres, and Tim Fuller-Rowell of CIRES and NOAA, and has also involved numerous graduate students. The CU-Boulder projects include Mitigating Threats through Space Environment Modeling and Prediction; Space Situational Awareness Improvements; Masters Level Commercial Spaceflight Operations Curriculum; Human-Rating of Commercial Spacecraft; Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking; and Role of the COE CST in “Encourage, Facilitate and Promote” to engage students and young professionals. For more information, see

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