South Metro Denver Chamber reception

Sat. Nov. 16, 2013

Thank you for joining us this evening as we anticipate the MAVEN launch.  We're thrilled that the South Metro Denver Chamber has brought members and several elected officials to Florida for this historic mission to Mars.

The launch represents a great partnership between three South Metro Denver Chamber members.

  •  Lockheed Martin built the spacecraft and is responsible for mission operations.
  •  United Launch Alliance provided the Atlas 5 launch vehicle.
  •  CU-Boulder is providing the scientific operations, the science instruments, and the public and educational outreach.

It shows what can be accomplished when a premier research university, industry and government work together.


  • John Brackney, President and CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber. The Chamber has a steadfast commitment to higher education and has been a strong CU advocate and partner.
  • Jeff Holwell, Chief Operating Officer of the South Metro Denver Chamber and its director of economic development. (and a CU-Boulder alumnus).
  • We greatly value our existing partnerships with the South Denver Metro Chamber and all its members and we look forward to expanding upon those relationships.

Also with us:

  • State Rep. Frank McNulty
  • Rep. Lois Landgraf
  • Rep. Bob Gardner
  • Sen. Lucia Guzman
  • Sen. Jessie Ulibarri
  • Sen. Nancy Todd
  • Jena Griswold, Colorado's and Gov. Hickenlooper's representative in Washington, D.C.

University of Colorado Regents:

  • Steve Bosley
  • Glenn Gallegos
  • Jim Geddes
  • Sue Sharkey

Thank you for your support

The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission is the biggest research contract in CU's history at $671 million.

  • The MAVEN contract has added more than $300 million to the Colorado economy.
  • It's created jobs
  • It's helped train more than 100 students for work in one of Colorado's most important industries.
  • And it's further entrenched the state of Colorado as a leader in the space industry.

Colorado has the nation's second-largest aerospace economy, and we're here together to celebrate our successes.

But, I'd also like to point out that aerospace is only a portion of CU-Boulder's $352 million in sponsored research awards this year.  While we receive more NASA funding than any public university in the country—and have for several years—we also have research contracts with the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Departments of Commerce, Energy and Defense, among others.

Funding from federal agencies is crucial to the research that spins out companies. CU-Boulder has spun out 76 companies in the last 20 years, creating high-tech jobs that did not exist before.

Three weeks ago, the Science Coalition released a national report called Sparking Economic Growth 2.0.  That report underscores the diversity of 100 recent companies spun off from university research. Two of the companies highlighted in the report, (ColdQuanta and Line-Rate), were developed from research at CU-Boulder.

Clearly, CU and the South Metro Denver Chamber share many common goals including company and job creation in Colorado, producing an educated workforce, and the very thing that brings us together tonight: growing and supporting our aerospace industry.

But we have other shared interests:

  • Immigration and VISA policies
  • STEM education (CU-Boulder recently designated a national demonstration site by the AAU)
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Energy and sustainability (new complex with $15 million fundraising goal)

While MAVEN brings us together tonight, we already are together on so many fronts, and we appreciate the shared vision and partnership with the chamber.

I'm glad that you're here to help us celebrate. Thank you for your support.

MAVEN Alumni Reception in Florida

Sat. Nov. 16, 2013

Welcome. Thank you for coming.

It's an exciting time for CU-Boulder, as we prepare to launch the next Mars explorer, MAVEN. I'm glad you are here to share it with us.

With us tonight are University of Colorado regents

  • Steve Bosley
  • Michael Carrigan
  • Glenn Gallegos
  • Jim Geddes
  • and Sue Sharkey

I would like to acknowledge our partners and sponsors Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, United Launch Alliance, and Exelis Incorporated, as well as our partners at NASA.

MAVEN has been a great example of CU-Boulder's productive partnerships with industry and government.

MAVEN also demonstrates our partnerships with our Pac-12 colleagues. Cal-Berkeley has provided a science instrument package, and many Berkeley scientists play key roles on the MAVEN team.

MAVEN—the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission—is perhaps the most ambitious space venture in CU history. It represents the biggest research contract in our history at $671 million.

MAVEN is unique. Unlike the Mars explorers before it, MAVEN will explore the Mars atmosphere rather than the surface to answer the overarching question: Has Mars ever been habitable?

The fact that we were awarded this contract is due in part to our credibility and our long experience and history in space exploration.

  • Nineteen of 20 CU-affiliated astronauts have flown in space.
  •  Our scientists have placed dozens of payloads on NASA's 135 shuttle missions.
  •  We're proud that CU-Boulder receives more NASA funding than any public university, and has for several years.
  • We've sent instruments to every planet in the solar system.

MAVEN has been a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students. Students have helped us every step of the way. Dozens of students are involved in all phases of the mission—the science, the engineering and the operations. By the mission's completion, more than 100 students will have taken part. Some students are at Cape Canaveral now preparing for the launch.

MAVEN will utilize eight science instrument packages—controlled by students with faculty oversight —and send data 36 million miles to students in Boulder at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

This experiential learning prepares our students to become the next generation's scientists, engineers, teachers and industry leaders.

Our operations and engineering graduates are keenly sought by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as well as well as space industry leaders because of their hands-on experience.  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, to name just a few, and of course at Lockheed Martin.

As an example, Guy Beutelschies was an undergraduate at CU working in our Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics in the early 1980s as a student controller of the Solar Mesosphere Explorer Satellite. This was one of the very first spacecraft for which students played a role in operations.

Today, he is the program manager at Lockheed Martin overseeing the development of the MAVEN spacecraft. He's responsible for providing us with the spacecraft that we are about to see launch. It's alumni like Guy who help CU continue its legacy in space exploration—a legacy in which we are very proud.

Thank you for coming. It's a pleasure to have you here to help us celebrate.

MAVEN Post-Launch Celebration

Mon. Nov. 18, 2013

CU is going to Mars!  We're very excited. Thank you for your support.

When I joined the CU-Boulder faculty in 1974, the nation was two years removed from sending the last man to the moon, and now, 40 years later, CU is going to Mars.

But we're not there yet. It will take MAVEN 10 months to get to Mars. It's scheduled to enter the Mars atmosphere in September.

The two most critical events are the launch, and insertion into Mars orbit. And both have to be carried out flawlessly. We just witnessed the flawless launch.

But insertion into the correct orbit will hinge on a critical four-minute window in September. Ten years of work on MAVEN will come down to four minutes. As Bruce Jakosky likes to say, this business is not for the feint of heart.

When Mars and Earth are at their closet, they are 36 million miles apart. Over the span of a year, scientific data from eight instrument packages will be sent from MAVEN to students manning the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics on our campus, also known as LASP.

120 students work in LASP at any given time on various space exploration projects. We're excited for the experiential education they get working on projects like this, and we're pleased we can prepare them for work in the aerospace industry.

While the primary scientific mission will last a year, MAVEN has enough fuel to stay up for seven to 10 years and could well send supplemental information on Mars for nearly a decade.

So while today feels like the culmination of a momentous and exciting event, it's really only the beginning. The data MAVEN will gather will revolutionize our knowledge of Mars.

Along the way, we've built—or extended—great relationships and partnerships—with our alumni, with our friends at the South Metro Denver Chamber, with Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, Excelis, and Cal-Berkeley.  I would like to thank the CU Board of Regents for its support.

We're glad you're with us for the 36 million mile ride. Thank you for joining us.

And go Buffs!