Published: April 24, 2023 By

Tim Straube receiving his plaque and medal.
Headline Photo: Dr. Gerren with Smead Aerospace Alumni.
Above: Tim Straube receiving his alumni plaque from Dr. Schaub.


Full Photo Gallery at Flickr

The Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences honored graduates and faculty during a special 2023 alumni banquet.

Seven graduates were recognized for achievements in education, industry, research, and public service.

“These outstanding graduates are being honored for being visionaries in aeronautics and astronautics and leaders in their fields,” said Hanspeter Schaub, chair of Smead Aerospace. “We are pleased to recognize outstanding careers in aerospace engineering sciences, as well as early career achievements.  These individuals are solving big challenges and are leading the industry towards new frontiers.”

In addition, three longtime faculty were honored for their contributions to research and education in aerospace.

The banquet was held at CU Boulder's Byron White Club on April 21.

Alumni honorees were recognized in three categories:

Outstanding Alumni for Excellence in Commercial Enterprise

  • Daryl Bahls (AeroEngr'77) (Over 40 Category) - Bahls retired from a 37-year career at Boeing and Martin Marietta, where he made major contributions to interplanetary mission design to solar system bodies, gravity assist flybys, and atmospheric entry. He also designed large-scale and specialized satellite constellations for geosynchronous and low-Earth orbits.
  • Kenneth Center (AeroEngr'89, MS'91, PhD'93) (Over 40 Category) - Center founded a small business that created scientifically grounded computer animations for aircraft accident investigations. He is now director of advanced programs at Orbit Logic, where he specializes in autonomous flight software and modular space architecture technologies.
  • Bradley Cheetham (MAeroEngr'11) (Under 40 Category) - Cheetham is the co-founder and CEO of Advanced Space, where he has led the successful lunar orbiter CAPSTONE along with a portfolio of commercial and government space projects. He also played a central role in bringing an FAA Center of Excellence in Commercial Space to CU Boulder.

Outstanding Alumni for Excellence in Public Service

  • Kyle Kemble (AeroEngr'13, MS'13) (Under 40 Category) - Kemble is a leading figure for the development and use of small satellite technologies and has made important contributions to the United States Space Force in the Space Warfighting Analysis Center.
  • Tim Straube (AeroEngr'91, MS'93, PhD'10) (Over 40 Category) - Straube is a leader for NASA’s Orion program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, with key roles in the production of the Software, Guidance, and Navigation systems for the Artemis I mission around the Moon, completed in December 2022, and earlier Orion flight tests. He previously had leadership and critical technical roles on the Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology, Space Shuttle, and International Space Station programs.

Outstanding Alumni for Excellence in Research

  • Daniel Kubitschek (MechEngr'90; MAeroEngr'94, PhD'97) (Over 40 Category) - Kubitschek was a major contributor to autonomous navigation for the Deep Impact comet mission, aero braking on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and led attitude determination and control and flight dynamics for the Emirates Mars Mission.
  • Gary Wick (AeroEngr'88, MS'90, PhD'95) (Over 40 Category) - Wick, an internationally recognized expert in the NOAA Physical Sciences Laboratory, has made advancements in the application and evaluation of remote sensing for oceanic and atmospheric research.

Honored Retired and Retiring Faculty

  • Prof. Emeritus Bob Culp - (AeroEngr MS'63, PhD' 66) Culp is a world authority on space debris, satellite fragmentation modeling, hazards to resident space objects, and the space environment.
  • Prof. Emeritus Bill Emery - Emery has conducted extensive studies of ocean surface processes, developed processing software for operational weather satellites and conducted studies of high-resolution satellite imagery for urban change detection and mapping of disaster effects.
  • Teaching Professor Donna Gerren - (Aero Engr BS'77, MS'79) Gerren's career has taken her from the Apollo-Soyuz Mission, to McDonnell Douglas, to the development of advanced aircraft analysis computer software. She returned to CU Boulder as a faculty member in 1995 where she has been a leading educator and mentor to thousands of students.

Additional Photos

Prof. Emeritus Bob Culp with alumni and faculty.

Ken Center speaking to attendees.

Full Photo Gallery at Flickr

Alumni at the event.