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University of Colorado
College of Engineering & Applied Science
Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Department Update | Fall 2014
Distinguished Lecture: Dr. Dan Mote
On Nov. 7 we were delighted to host a visit by Dr. Dan Mote, President of the National Academy of Engineering, to present the 2014 Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Lecture. Dr. Mote graciously spent the day meeting with faculty and students, capping things off with a thought-provoking presentation to an audience of faculty and students from across the college, entitled, “What’s Coming, Whether We Like It or Not.” Providing historical context and his observation that today, much of academia is structured around principles of ongoing stability, Dr. Mote challenged us to envision how the role of faculty and universities should adapt to better respond to fundamental and global changes in how and when research and education are carried out.
Chancellor DiStefano’s Grand Challenge
In his State of the Campus address on Oct. 14, Chancellor DiStefano announced a new Grand Challenge that the university will undertake. As background, he described how the rapid development of space-based innovations has profoundly transformed the ways in which we communicate, get our news, find our way, and how we engage in local, regional, and global commerce and society. Through this Grand Challenge, CU-Boulder will harness its strengths in aerospace, climate science and the human experience to develop interdisciplinary research and educational programs that will prepare our students to understand, respond to, and be leaders of an economic and societal future that continues to see an unprecedented rate of change. We will keep you informed as this important initiative gets underway.
In Memoriam
The department lost two long-term members of the CU Aerospace Engineering Sciences community when both George Morgenthaler and Noel Hinners passed away in early September. Professor Emeritus George Morgenthaler was chair of the AES department from 1985-1989, and a professor in AES until his retirement in 2004. He co-founded the Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles (RECUV). Noel Hinners, former NASA Chief Scientist and retired Vice President of Lockheed Martin, was a founding member and exceptionally dedicated chair emeritus of the AES External Advisory Board. Both gentlemen have had a profound and lasting impact on our department and CU-Boulder. They will be sorely missed and long remembered.
Student Spotlight

KatieRae Williamson (AeroEngr ’13), mentored by Malcom Young (AeroEngr ’09), brought a CU-Boulder research discovery to the business market. The team formed a start-up company, Memprint Dynamics, to encourage commercial use of nanotechnology in the water and purification industries. In April 2014 Memprint Dynamics won “Best New Idea” at the CU New Venture Challenge Cleantech competition, which focused on technology related to renewable or more efficient energy. Later, the team was one of only 18 business proposals selected from 130 to compete in the Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprise Challenge (BOEC). After several selection and competition processes, Memprint Dynamics took the $5,000 third place prize in May. The business competitions not only required students to create a business plan, but also helped them gain valuable experience in forming a company and giving sales pitches—from high-level business presentations in large auditoriums to one-minute elevator talks pitched to VIPS on a trolley traveling through Old Town in Fort Collins. Williamson attributes their team’s success to the knowledge she gained through the AES curriculum: “Senior Projects taught me not only how to analyze systems and problems, but also how to present technical material and to handle, with confidence, any tough questions from investors.” Pictured above: KatieRae Williamson (third from right) and business partner Malcolm Young (second from right) receive the third place prize from the BOEC team and the founder of Otterbox.

Alumni Spotlight: MarcusWilkerson and The OPALS Hardware
Marcus Wilkerson (AeroEngr ‘08) was both the Integration and Test (I&T) lead and Flight System Systems Engineer (FSSE) at JPL for the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) project. On April 14, 2014, OPALS launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon capsule and was successfully mounted externally onto the International Space Station (ISS). Since May, OPALS has been transferring videos and files from the ISS to a ground receiver at a NASA facility in Wrightwood, CA via optical link, using lasers to transmit data instead of radio waves. OPALS concluded a successful primary mission in October this year. “Working on OPALS here at JPL was a wonderful experience,” says Wilkerson. “I got hands-on experience with assembling and testing flight hardware, as well as performing key systems engineering functions from formulation to operation. The icing on the cake was to see our hardware floating in space, and then operating it successfully! OPALS felt like a proper extension of the AES senior project series, which prepared me for working on a project from start to finish." Currently Marcus is the Flight System Requirements Lead for the Europa Clipper project at JPL.
Alumni Class Notes

Tim Lloyd (AeroEngr ‘01) I've just celebrated 10 years with Blue Origin, where I've been involved with design, build, and test of every vehicle that we've flown. I'm currently the lead engineer of our Crew Systems team, which is developing life support, seats, and other astronaut interfaces for our suborbital launch vehicle. I live in Seattle with my wife, Emily, and our son, Oscar, who was born in November 2013.
Aashish Aroon (MS AeroEngr ‘12) I have been working at Rockwell Collins as an Avionics Engineer on the Proline Fusion Integrated Display Systems for a year now and have worked on several aircraft such as the Embraer Legacy 500, Beechcraft King Air and most recently the state-of-the-art Bombardier C series aircraft.

> Send us your updates for the next edition of Class Notes!

Note from the Chair, Penny Axelrad


CU-Boulder AeroSpace Ventures (CU-ASV) held a second successful CU-ASV Day on Sept. 22 at the LASP Space Science building. In the morning Innovation Session, industry representatives were pleased with the various research opportunities to collaborate with faculty. Barry Hamilton, CEO and founder of Red Canyon Software, met with Professor Scott Palo in the morning session. “We’re working on a lunar satellite and we have some holes, mostly in communication,” said Hamilton. “There are a lot of people here I need to talk to, and I didn’t even know it.”
Approximately 300 engineering students met with aerospace corporate recruiters during the afternoon ASV Day Career Fair, nearly doubling the number attending the inaugural event last year. By October, some students reported that they had already received job offers from companies that interviewed them on CU-ASV Day.  

Please visit our website to keep up with the latest department news and events.  Drop by this fall for a visit—we would love to see you! Or, send us an email!

Honors & Awards


Rob Redmon (PhD, AeroEngr ‘12), awarded the International Council for Science World Data Service Stewardship Award for 2014.

Bruce Haines (PhD, AeroEngr ’91), the NASA Exceptional Service Medal at JPL, Sept. 2014


Daniel Scheeres, named a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor by the Board of Regents on
Nov. 20, 2014

Kristine Larson
, the European Geosciences Union Christiaan Hygens Medal; the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Creativity Prize for Water, shared with the GPS Reflections Group (Eric Small of CU-Boulder, Valery Zavorotny of NOAA, and John Braun of UCAR)

Delores Knipp, named Editor-in-Chief of Space Weather: The International Journal of Research and Applications, and its companion, The Space Weather Quarterly

Lakshmi Kantha’s book, “Numerical Models of Oceans and Oceanic Processes," translated into Chinese and published in China


Collin Bezrouk, PhD student, three-year DoD NDSEG Fellowship

Ryan McGranaghan, PhD student, “Top Presentation” at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Space Student Group; second place IT poster session, CEDAR workshop

Christopher Nie, Tobias Niederwieser and Patrick Wessels, MS students, listed among the 2014 Aviation Week Twenty20’s

Christine Fanchiang, Roger Huang, and Eric Threet, MAVERIC team presentation, second place overall at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention

Asa Darnell, Tobias Niederwieser, Elliot Russell, Chris Christensen, Christine Fanchiang, Jonathan Anthony, Chris Nie, and Matthew Milanese, team LITEHABS, tied for first place, graduate division, 2014 RASC-AL competition

Christine Fanchiang (leader) and team BioCube, first place, Startup Weekend Space in San Jose, Calif.

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Aerospace Engineering Sciences
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