Regents approved funding for aerospace building. Construction groundbreaking coming this...
Department Update | Summer 2017
Rendering of the new building

CU Boulder is set to begin construction this fall of a new 139,000-square-foot aerospace engineering building that will help the College of Engineering and Applied Science enhance its reputation as a national leader in aerospace education and research.

Approval by the Board of Regents paves the way for the long-awaited $82.5 million project, which was... >> Read More

Vaness Aponte

Vanessa Aponte has rubbed shoulders with astronauts, designed equipment to travel into space, and worked with technology so specialized she is not allowed to talk about it. As a Lockheed Martin engineer and CU aerospace PhD graduate, she has achieved great things and is instilled with a personal drive and ability to create opportunities where others might see none.

It is something that has guided her from a young age. Growing up in primarily Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico, she decided to learn English. Unfortunately, there was no one who could teach her, so she found another solution... >> Read More

Katherine Glasheen

Katherine Glasheen has a nickname fit for an engineer: machine, and it is not just because it rhymes with her last name.

A second-year aerospace PhD student, she has a drive to advance technology and is conducting research on socially aware drones, a project that will become increasingly important with wider adoption of UAVs. Today, however, it is something that is future-focused enough that even her advisor calls it "kind of wild." >> Read More

Student Awards

Senior Design teams earn AIAA honors
Congratulations to 2016 senior design teams REPTAR and CASCADE. Both teams placed at the AIAA Region V Student Paper Conference in Denver. REPTAR earned first place in the Team Category and CASCADE received second.

REPTAR was sponsored by Raytheon and designed a small satellite re-entry, landing, and recovery system. CASCADE was sponsored by Sierra Nevada Space Systems and created a prototype autonomous on-orbit small satellite capture device.

Team REPTAR: Calvin Buechler, Kevin Faggiano, Dustin Fishelman, Cody Gondek, Lee Huynh, Aaron McCusker, William Sear, Himanshi Singhal, Craig Wenkheimer, Nathan Yeo

Team CASCADE: Chad Eberl, Matthew Fromm, Timothy Kiley, Tony Ly, Haoyu Li, Andrew McBride, Noel Puldon, Keegan Sotebeer, Morgan Tilong

Ian GeraghtyIan Geraghty was awarded Undergraduate Honorable Mention at the 2017 CEDAR workshop for his poster ‘Multi-year survey of short period gravity wave parameters in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere at McMurdo, Antarctica.’

Matthew Hurst received the 2017 Department Outstanding Senior Award. Hurst graduates with dual degrees in aerospace and applied math.

Amber Bishop was awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado. The scholarship recognizes students for their academic records, involvement in student chapters of professional organizations, and community service.

Stepping Down as Chair
By Penny Axelrad


Penina AxelradFor the past five years, I have had the honor of serving as chair of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, now newly named in honor of Ann and H.J. Smead. It has been an exciting time, especially over the past year.

We welcomed Bobby Braun, a highly respected aerospace professor, researcher, and former NASA Chief Technologist, as the new dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science; celebrated the naming of our department and the recognition of several distinguished and accomplished faculty members; and are now getting ready to break ground on a dedicated aerospace building, a transformational project that is moving forward after years of planning by many of our faculty and staff members.

These developments are positives for and have not gone unnoticed by prospective students, as applications continue to... Read More


Robert LebenResearch professor Bob Leben is retiring after 34 years of service to the department. CU Boulder through-and-through, he also earned his bachelors, master’s, and PhD here. Leben has been a member of the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR), with significant expertise in satellite altimetry and its application to ocean circulation and climate monitoring.

Jeffrey ForbesProfessor Jeff Forbes is retiring. An AIAA fellow and retired Lt. Col. in the Air Force Reserves, Forbes joined CU aerospace in 1992. He has conducted major research into the upper atmosphere environments of Earth and other planets and served as department chair from 2008-2012. In recognition of his contributions, he has been awarded Professor Emeritus status.

Congratulations and farewell to Patti Gassaway , who has been a familiar face to faculty and students in Smead Aerospace for 25 years. She has been assistant to the chair since June 1992, and spent four years at Norlin Library before that. Her duties varied from chair to chair (she has served with six of them), and have included event planning, outreach, faculty support, scheduling, and most importantly, being an anchor for the department. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Faculty Awards

Kristine LarsonKristine Larson was awarded a Chalmers Honorary Doctorate “for her groundbreaking research on using GPS signals to measure soil moisture, snow depth, vegetation, and sea level.”

Jeffrey Thayer received a patent for describing an innovative lidar remote sensing technique called the INtrapulse PHAse Modification Induced by Scattering (INPHAMIS). It provides a 50-fold increase in resolution over previous systems.

Hanspeter Schaub has received the John Leland Atwood Award from the American Society for Engineering Education.

Jim NabityJames Nabity received the 2017 Outstanding Faculty Advisor award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Mahmoud HusseinMahmoud Hussein was issued a US patent, which presents a new type of material and approach whereby a semiconducting material may be nanostructured in a manner that leads to reducing its thermal conductivity without affecting its electrical conductivity and Seebeck coefficient.

Delores Knipp Delores Knipp was selected to give the 2017 CEDAR Prize Lecture.Knipp received the honor for her space weather research “unraveling the physical connection between shock-led interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) and the subsequent response in the neutral thermosphere."

Sanghamitra NeogiSanghamitra Neogi was a co-author of a Web of Science Top 1% Highly Cited Paper in Physics.

Donna Gerren was named a Fellow of the Society of Allied Weight Engineers at the organization's 2017 international conference in Montreal, Canada.


Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences | University of Colorado Boulder
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