Our Directive

Contrary to popular belief, outer space is not an infinite resource. Responsible collaboration and coordination is required to ensure that space remains the “province of all mankind,” as enshrined by the landmark Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The Space & Sustainability Initiative is one of the first programs in the nation to focus on the role of the private sector and entrepreneurship in space exploration and to help shape the norms of behavior that can grow commercial space operations.

The Space & Sustainability Initiative harnesses the full power of CU Boulder’s extensive expertise in aerospace engineering, atmospheric sciences, business, information technology, law and public policy. Our objective is simple: to equip tomorrow’s leaders with market analyses and business models for the commercial space industry. With our unique emphasis on the role of orbital space debris, we are also shaping norms of behavior for space sustainability.

SSI also fully embraces the idea that students ought to learn the principles of sustainable space governance and be exposed to the existing problems and solutions in order to ensure that the next generation has all the requisite tools to achieve the UN SDGs and more. In the near future, SSI will shape the formation of electives for the Colleges of Engineering, Business and Arts & Sciences, as well as Executive Education programming.

The Right Stuff

This first-of-a-kind program is specifically designed for the next generation of space entrepreneurs. The Leeds School of Business and the Ann & H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences of the College of Engineering and Applied Science have embarked on this partnership that programmatically connects the two schools. The Space and Sustainability Initiative (SSI) serves as a way to integrate the two disciplines, bridge the two communities, and accelerate collaboration and innovation across the CU campus and with the commercial space business community.

Launched by professor and researcher Dr. Mark Meaney, who has recently passed away, this project joins in partnership Zack Donohew (PI) of the Division of Social Responsibility and Sustainability (SRS) in the Leeds School of Business with Marcus Holzinger (Co-PI), Associate Professor and Smead Faculty Fellow of the Ann & H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences.

Surrounded by nine of the nation’s largest aerospace companies, NASA, and the Department of Defense, not to mention a host of startup ventures eager to take on the challenge of establishing a dynamic and vibrant commercial space economy, CU Boulder sits at the center of one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing aerospace ecosystems in the country.