CU in space

When NASA's 30-year-old space shuttle program was shuttered following the Atlantis mission in July 2011, the University of Colorado Boulder looked back at a rich relationship filled with triumph and tragedy and looked ahead to an evolving international program of government and private efforts that will send humans and cargo into orbit.

Of the 20 astronaut-affiliates from CU — 19 from CU-Boulder and one from University of Colorado Colorado Springs — 16 flew on a total of 40 NASA space shuttle missions. The two who flew the most shuttle missions were Jim Voss, (M.S. aerospace engineering, 1974) a current scholar in residence at CU-Boulder who flew five missions, as did CU alumna Marsha Ivins (B.S. aerospace engineering, 1973).

In addition to its prominent role in the astronaut program, CU-Boulder 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 onboard 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.

BioServe has worked with industrial and academic partners on experiments ranging from bone loss mitigation and the development of new antibiotics to K-12 educational payloads involving butterflies and spiders that drew the participation of more than a million students around the world. BioServe personnel have trained dozens of astronauts to operate their experimental hardware in space, both on the shuttle and the International Space Station.

NASA space shuttles also toted two key instruments developed by teams led by CU-Boulder faculty for the Hubble Space Telescope. The launch of Hubble aboard Atlantis in 1990 included a high-resolution spectrograph designed and built by a team led by CU-Boulder retired Professor John "Jack" Brandt of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The instrument broke down wavelengths of light emanating from distant celestial objects to determine their compositions, motions and temperatures to help astronomers understand the conditions of the early universe.

CU-Boulder's involvement with the space shuttle program also included three payloads designed, built and flown by students, primarily undergraduates, from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium headquartered in aerospace engineering sciences. The first payload, dubbed ESCAPE, and which flew on Discovery in 1993, measured the sun's effects on Earth's atmosphere using a spectrometer to record extreme UV solar radiation and a camera to photograph the sun. The effort included the participation of nearly 100 students, primarily undergraduates, over a two-year span.

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NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has obtained its first observations of the extended upper atmosphere surrounding Mars. 

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The spacecraft for a NASA mission to probe the climate history of Mars led by the University of Colorado Boulder slid seamlessly into orbit at about 8:24 p.m. MDT on Sunday, Sept. 21, the last major hurdle of the 10-month, 442-million-mile...

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Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems is pleased to announce it is expanding its relationship with the University of Colorado Boulder through the signing of a letter of cooperation with CU-Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies (BioServe...

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Rounding out a full day of touring CU-Boulder facilities and meeting with faculty, staff and students, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden spoke to a packed house on the afternoon of April 18, 2014.

Bolden acknowledged the close association...

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Video

MAVEN Spectograph Image in HD

Nick Schneider and Ian Stewart of CU-Boulder's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics talk to NASA about the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument onbooard the MAVEN mission to Mars. 

Launching rockets at Engineering Days

Sigma Gamma Tau organizes a build-your-own rocket launch at CU-Boulder.

MAVEN arrives in orbit

The spacecraft for a NASA mission to probe the climate history of Mars led by CU-Boulder slid seamlessly into orbit at about 8:24 p.m. MDT on Sunday, Sept. 21, the last major hurdle of the 10-month, 442-million-mile journey.

Roving to extreme environments: CU students work with JPL to create new robots

University of Colorado Boulder aerospace engineering students are working with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to create robotic rovers that can investigate some of the earth's hostile natural environments. See the rovers in action, and find out how CU-Boulder students are getting invaluable hands-on experience.

Growing vegetables in space

If humans are to go on long space explorations, to Mars or beyond the solar system, they will need to be able to grow food in space ships or or space stations. A team at CU-Boulder is developing a system for space gardening with robots.

CU-Boulder's sun-gazing satellite, designed to last 5 years, turns 10

When a sun-gazing NASA satellite designed and built by the University of Colorado Boulder launched into space on Jan. 25, 2003, solar storms were raging.

Students Help NASA Search For Earthlike Planets

CU-Boulder students will be at the controls of a new NASA spacecraft designed to hunt down Earthlike planets in other solar systems.

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