Welcome to the 2nd annual CU Boulder aerospace summit. Thank you for joining us and thank you for your support of the university and the Colorado space industry!

What an appropriate place for us to gather, as CU-Boulder, together with its Colorado space industry partners, have made a bit of Colorado history together since the dawn of the space age.

Many may not know that in 1956, two years before NASA was created, CU rocket technology was spun off to form Ball Brothers Research Corporation, and I’m pleased to say that our partnerships continue to this day. 

Our partnership with Lockheed Martin also dates back several decades, including the MAVEN mission to Mars in 2013, and now the GOES-R weather satellite mission and the OSIRIS-Rex asteroid mission, both of which you will hear about shortly. All the vehicles were built by Lockheed Martin.

We’re very proud to be able to work so closely with these great Colorado space industry leaders and pioneers.

And we’re proud that NASA chooses CU-Boulder as its top-funded public research university, investing more than $120 million annually in aerospace research that we can in turn invest in Colorado.

With such real-world experience our graduates are a top hiring source as engineers, scientists and project managers for the space industry in Colorado and nationwide.

Our campus strategic imperatives are to develop tomorrow’s leaders, be the top university for innovation and positively impact humanity. As you will see tonight, our aerospace programs encompass all three of these imperatives.

A couple of quick updates and then we will get on with the program.

We are very pleased that Lockheed Martin has invested $3 million in a CU partnership to fund a campus research center on radio frequency technologies and their use in space communications systems.

The Lockheed Martin Radio Frequency Research Center will also offer several academic programs to prepare tomorrow’s leaders.

Also, through the generosity of Ann Smead and Michael Byram, $15 million in gifts will propel scholarships and fellowships in our aerospace engineering program.

The newly named Ann and H.J. Smead Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences is ranked one of the top 4 departments in the country overall, including the No. 8 graduate program and the No. 12 undergraduate program.

This gift will attract top students and faculty in perpetuity. I want to express my great thanks to Ann and Michael. 

Now I would like to introduce Abby Benson, executive director of CU’s Aerospace Ventures.