Thank you for joining us for this important conversation.

I want to thank our good friends at the Boulder Chamber for their partnership in bringing the business community together for this event.  This is the first in a series of ongoing events we will be hosting to connect the research and innovation at CU-Boulder to the community.  We are so glad you could join us today for this first one focused on Aerospace related science.


I would like to acknowledge four state legislators in particular who are proven supporters and champions of CU aerospace and space sciences initiatives.

  • Sen. Rollie Heath
  • Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp
  • Rep. Jonathan Singer, who we will hear from shortly.
  • Rep. Paul Rosenthal

Rep. Rosenthal doubles as a teacher. Her brought three students with him. Welcome. We are glad to have you.

Please stand, we would like to give you a round of applause … Thank you for your ongoing support.

I would also like to acknowledge:

  • Ken Lund, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. He is here representing the governor. We look forward to hearing from Ken this evening.  
  • Brandon Rattiner, Sen. Mark Udall's Denver Metro Area Regional Director is with us.
  • Danielle Henry, is a staff member in Rep. Jared Polis' Boulder office.  
  • Boulder Valley School District Superintendent Bruce Messinger and Deputy Superintendent Deirdre Pilch.

Thank you all for coming.

Breadth and depth of programs prepare CU as a leader in the space economy

As I speak, CU alumnus Steve Swanson is in his fourth month working on the International Space Station as commander …  and our Mars atmospheric explorer, MAVEN, is en route, scheduled to enter Martian orbit on Sept. 21.

MAVEN is not just our story, it's Colorado's story. Nearly half of our $671 million MAVEN contract with NASA was returned to the Colorado economy, and we had some exciting and very productive partnerships with Lockheed Martin, which built the spacecraft, and United Launch Alliance, which launched it. It helped train more than 100 CU students for work in one of Colorado's most important industries. Dr. David Brain will talk more about MAVEN shortly.

We are proud that CU-Boulder is the only university in the world to have designed, built and sent instruments to every planet in the solar system and Pluto. Currently we have instruments in orbit around Saturn and Mercury and we are en route to Pluto on New Horizons.

Thirty years ago CU President Arnold Weber said he wanted to be No. 1 in aerospace and space sciences and over time we've fulfilled that challenge. I'm proud that we have been NASA's top-funded public university for several years.

CU-Boulder is in a unique position to fulfill a pivotal role in continuing to grow and transform Colorado's aerospace and space sciences economy.

Now we want to take it to the next level. We intend to expand our aerospace partnerships with industry, the local community, the state of Colorado and the nation.

As all of us here know that the new space economy is more than rocket ships. Today, space impacts our lives on a daily basis.

A day without space would lead to global communications and GPS breakdown, financial system collapse, transportation chaos, and even widespread electrical grid failure (such as we experienced in 1989).

Instead of thinking of aerospace and space sciences as a silo, we think of it as a group of related synergies:

  • Satellites and agriculture forecasts and management
  • Aerospace and I.T. interface
  • Transportation planning and management
  • Sun spot flare predictions and communications
  • Logistics for industry worldwide
  • Weather forecasting
  • Climate change
  • Satellite imaging for everything from maps on your iPhone to Geographic Information System (GIS) for fighting forest fires.

We believe that Colorado is poised to take the lead in this arena and that CU-Boulder has the research breadth and depth in our aerospace and space sciences programs and related research to create the drive to achieve that mission.

This evening we are pleased to give you a glimpse of that capacity through our Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department and our Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics faculty. LASP employs 150 undergraduate and graduate students in all areas of science, engineering and mission operations, preparing them for the space-industry workforce.

You will also hear from faculty in the Dept. of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, who operate Fiske Planetarium. We have 160 undergraduate majors and 54 graduate students in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and more than 700 students majoring in Aerospace Engineering.

 In addition, there are many students in other engineering disciplines including Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science, who go on to professional careers in the aerospace sector.

20 CU graduates and affiliates have become NASA astronauts, including Commander Swanson. Approximately one-third of the engineering staff at Lockheed Martin earned one of their degrees from CU. CU graduates work at NASA, Boeing, Raytheon, United Launch Alliance, Ball Aerospace DigitalGlobe and Sierra Nevada to name a few.

Colorado has one of the nation's largest aerospace economies and we're proud to play a key role in that success.

Therefore it's important that we continue to expand our partnerships. Our Office of Industry Collaboration is ready to connect business and industry with CU-Boulder resources. Caroline Himes directs that office and she can be reached at 303-492-0800.

I hope you will find the next hour to be informative and intriguing. Thank you for joining us today.