Posts tagged International Space Station
This will enhance our longtime research partnerships with several federal labs, create exceptional educational opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students and produce more than 70 high-paying jobs in our community with an annual payroll of $20 million. It will further position CU-Boulder as a center of innovation in solar research and is another example of how our entrepreneurial spirit will benefit Colorado’s economy.Our ability to win the National Solar Observatory came about because of a terrific joint effort led by Professor Dan Baker, director of our Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, coordinating the university, the city of Boulder, the business community and Colorado’s political leadership. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Congressmen Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter, our federal lab partners and Governor John Hickenlooper were all closely involved. Collaboration with these important partners put us in position to win the NSO.Boulder Daily Camera, Sept. 30: “CU-Boulder tops Alabama to land National Solar Observatory headquarters”In another instance of how we help build Colorado’s economy, Long Island-based Arrow Electronics announced its relocation to Colorado this week. Arrow CEO Michael Long said that a highly educated workforce—including access to CU-Boulder’s engineering programs—rivals Colorado tax incentives as an inducement to relocate. Arrow plans to create 1,200 additional Colorado jobs in five years and we look forward to partnering with this dynamic company.CBS4 News: Oct. 12: “Arrow Electronics’ Move Is A Bet On Colorado: What’s Behind The Move Of Arrow Electronics?”State of the CampusThe relocation of Arrow Electronics is a good example of how we can help lead the state to prosperity, a subject I focused on in my annual State of the Campus address last week. In the speech I detailed how the state’s flagship university, despite having very little financial support from the state, can and must help Colorado move forward in these challenging economic times. We prepare students for highly skilled jobs in the 21st century global workplace, contribute billions annually to Colorado’s economy, and our research innovations create and attract companies. Technology transfer is just one of many ways we move the state ahead economically. Here’s an example of how our research innovations improve lives, while creating companies, through technology transfer.CU News Services, Sept. 19: “Suvica Inc. of Boulder to commercialize CU-Boulder cancer screening technology”Center of EntrepreneurshipCU-Boulder continues to be a center of entrepreneurship inspired by both our faculty and students. We were pleased our students’ entrepreneurial activities were detailed in this Boulder Daily Camera story.We have many resources to support and help our entrepreneurial students. One of those is a cross-campus Certificate in Entrepreneurshipdeveloped for students of all majors—from engineering to theater—offered through the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship in the Leeds School of Business. The Deming Center also gives students a host of entrepreneurial opportunities in a number of transformational industry sectors such as bioscience, clean energy and organic business. We have entrepreneurial programs and certificates in specific schools, colleges and Residential Academic Programs (RAPS) such as engineering, music and our sustainable design RAP.It’s also notable that the Department of Energy last week awarded the CU Cleantech Program at the Deming Center a grant to host a regional competition for students working on renewable energy start-up companies. Students from 10 states will submit clean-technology business plans to compete for $100,000. The university and the Deming Center are leaders in commercializing renewable energy.Boulder County Business Report, Oct. 11: “CU to host clean-tech competition”Here are just a handful of entrepreneurial projects our students are working on:Boulder County Business Report, Sept. 28: “New app inspired by Fourmile Fire”Boulder Daily Camera, Sept. 16: “Sounds of fun: CU-Boulder students engineer toys for the blind” Boulder Daily Camera, Sept. 24: “CU-Boulder students to get involved with solar-powered Wi-Fi project in Haiti” CU-Boulder will prepare space experiments designed by students 14 to 18 in an international contest sponsored in part by YouTube.
Macky Auditorium symbolizes CU’s contribution to community and culture. (Video by Boulder Daily Camera.)Macky Auditorium celebratedAn iPad loaded with contemporary digital content was part of a time capsule buried at Macky Auditorium last week to replace one opened a year ago on Macky’s 100th birthday. Macky has been a community cultural hub on campus for a century. Today, more than 385,000 citizens a year enhance their quality of life by visiting CU-Boulder’s museums, performing and visual arts, debates and other cultural events. CU-Boulder was awarded the National Solar Observatory on Sept. 30. (Photo courtesy of NASA.) Chancellor Philip DiStefano delivers the 2011 State of the Campus address in the Glenn Miller Ballroom. Daniel Schaefer, a CU-Boulder doctoral candidate in communication, holds up his Android smart phone with a special keyboard app that he created for easier Twitter posting during disasters.The Golden Buffalo Marching Band practices on Farrand Field. The band will be featured in Homecoming festivities Friday and Saturday.
The University of Colorado Boulder is involved with five different space science payloads ranging from antibody tests that may lead to new bone-loss treatments to an experiment to improve vaccine effectiveness for combating salmonella when Atlantis thunders skyward July 8 on the last of NASA’s 135 space shuttle missions.
One experiment, sponsored by the global pharmaceutical companies Amgen and UCB, will test an antibody to sclerostin — a protein that has a negative effect on bone formation, mass and strength — on lab mice flying on the shuttle. Researchers on the project hope the sclerostin antibody treatment will inhibit the action of sclerostin.
The research team hopes the findings may lead to potential therapeutic treatments for astronauts, who suffer significant bone loss during spaceflight, especially on long-term missions. They also might provide insight for future research in the prevention and treatment of skeletal fragility that may be caused by stroke, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and reduced physical activity. Amgen is headquartered in Thousand Oaks, Calif., while UCB is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
There are seven co-principal investigators on the sclerostin antibody experiment, including Louis Stodieck, director of CU-Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies and a faculty member in the aerospace engineering sciences department. The research team includes a second CU-Boulder co-principal investigator, Assistant Professor Virginia Ferguson of mechanical engineering, an expert in biomaterials, including bone.
A second payload, called the Recombinant Attenuated Salmonella Vaccine, or RASV, will allow scientists to search for novel gene targets for vaccine development and improvement using the low gravity of space. The principal investigator on the experiment is Associate Professor Cheryl Nickerson of Arizona State University.
The RASV experiment will be carried aboard Atlantis in sets of specially designed fluid-processing cylinders built by BioServe known as GAPs, said Stodieck. Each GAP holds eight test-tube-like devices that allow Salmonella and growth media to be mixed in space. Astronauts will operate the experiments using hand cranks to first trigger cell growth via fluid mixing and later to terminate it.
A third payload will allow researchers to examine genetic alterations spurred by cellular changes in yeast. Since some cells have been shown to undergo significant changes in microgravity — like producing larger quantities of rare antibiotics or making large amounts of bioactive medicinal proteins — the team will analyze 6,000 different genetically altered yeast strains aboard the payload to identify specific genes that are linked to such space-based changes. This knowledge could someday help efforts to produce new and better medicines, said Stodieck.
Led by Timothy Hammond of the Veteran’s Administration in Washington, D.C., the payload will be flown inside two types of BioServe flight hardware known as an opticell processing module and a plate habitat that rides inside a BioServe Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, or CGBA. The CGBA is an automated, suitcase-sized device developed by CU-Boulder that has been launched on more than 20 NASA space shuttle missions and which provides steady temperature control. There currently are two BioServe CGBA devices on the International Space Station, one of which will be used for processing the yeast experiment at an elevated temperature.
A fourth payload involving biofilms may help scientists understand how and why slimy and troublesome clumps of microorganisms flourish in the low-gravity conditions of space. The experiments on biofilms — clusters of microorganisms that adhere to each other or to various surfaces — are of high interest to space scientists because of their potential impacts on astronaut and spacecraft health, said Stodieck.
Led by Professor Cynthia Collins of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., the biofilm experiment riding inside a second BioServe CGBA will target the growth, physiology and cell-to-cell interactions in microbial biofilms. The team will examine how the formation of the three-dimensional structure of biofilms formed by microbes differs in spaceflight versus normal gravity.
A fifth payload will be used to assess the effects of microgravity on the formation, establishment and multiplication of cells in a tropical plant known as Jatropha that produces energy-rich nuts, a popular new renewable crop for biofuels. The team will be looking for genes that help or hinder Jatropha growth to see if new strains can be developed and commercially grown in “warm-temperate” areas like the southern United States. The lead scientist on the experiment is Associate Professor Wagner Vendrame of the University of Florida.
BioServe is a nonprofit, NASA-supported center founded in 1987 at CU-Boulder to develop new or improved products through space life science research in partnership with industry, academia and government. Since 1991 BioServe has flown payloads on 37 NASA space shuttle microgravity missions.
Although NASA’s space shuttle program will be shuttered following the Atlantis mission, hardware and experiments developed by BioServe are manifested on various international resupply vehicles traveling to the International Space Station, as well as on U.S. spacecraft now under development, said Stodieck.
“We would be unable to carry out all of our research without the help of CU-Boulder students,” he said. “Both undergraduate and graduate students play an important role in designing, building and testing spaceflight payloads, activities that can give them a significant advantage when they move on to careers in the aerospace industry.”
BioServe also has flown several K-12 educational experiments on the space station, including seed-germination studies, spider web-weaving experiments, butterfly life cycle experiments and crystal garden growth experiments — all of which have provided learning opportunities for thousands of middle school and high school students around the world. The K-12 efforts have been led by Stefanie Countryman, BioServe’s business manager and coordinator of education outreach.
When NASA’s 30-year-old space shuttle program is shuttered following the Atlantis mission in July, the University of Colorado Boulder will look back at a rich relationship filled with triumph and tragedy and look ahead to an evolving international program of government and private efforts that will send humans and cargo into orbit.
Of the 19 astronaut-affiliates from CU — 18 from CU-Boulder and one from University of Colorado Colorado Springs — 16 flew on a total of 40 NASA space shuttle missions. The two who flew the most shuttle missions were Jim Voss, (M.S. aerospace engineering, 1974) a current scholar in residence at CU-Boulder who flew five missions, as did CU alumna Marsha Ivins (B.S. aerospace engineering, 1973).
Vance Brand, a Longmont native with two CU-Boulder degrees (B.A. business 1953, B.S. aerospace, 1960), began his astronaut career with the Apollo program — he flew on the historic Apollo-Soyuz mission that brought together astronauts and cosmonauts in space in 1981 — and went on to command three space shuttle flights.
Two CU-Boulder astronaut-alumni died aboard space shuttles. In 1986, Ellison Onizuka (B.S., M.S. aerospace engineering, 1969), was killed when Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, an event witnessed by millions around the world. In 2003, Kalpana Chawla (Ph.D. aerospace engineering, 1988) perished when Columbia disintegrated over Texas during Earth re-entry.
CU-Boulder’s Air Force ROTC honors the two fallen astronauts annually on campus with a color guard and wreath-laying ceremony.
A celebrated university reunion in space occurred on Dec. 2, 1990, when Columbia blasted off with three CU astronaut-alums. Brand, the Columbia space shuttle commander, was joined by mission specialist John “Mike” Lounge (M.S. astrogeophysics, 1970) and payload specialist Sam Durrance (Ph.D., astrogeophysics 1980) as part of the seven-man crew on the ASTRO-1 mission. Toting four telescopes in the cargo bay, the shuttle mission was the first ever dedicated to astronomy.
In addition to its prominent role in the astronaut program, CU-Boulder has flown dozens of science payloads on NASA’s 135 space shuttle missions. BioServe Space Technologies, a NASA-funded center in the aerospace engineering sciences department, has launched experiments onboard space shuttles 39 times since 1991, using the low-gravity of Earth orbit as a testing ground for a variety of agricultural, biomedical and educational payloads.
BioServe has worked with industrial and academic partners on experiments ranging from bone loss mitigation and the development of new antibiotics to K-12 educational payloads involving butterflies and spiders that drew the participation of more than a million students around the world. BioServe personnel have trained dozens of astronauts to operate their experimental hardware in space, both on the shuttle and the International Space Station.
NASA space shuttles also toted two key instruments developed by teams led by CU-Boulder faculty for the Hubble Space Telescope. The launch of Hubble aboard Atlantis in 1990 included a high-resolution spectrograph designed and built by a team led by CU-Boulder retired Professor John “Jack” Brandt of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The instrument broke down wavelengths of light emanating from distant celestial objects to determine their compositions, motions and temperatures to help astronomers understand the conditions of the early universe.
Fittingly, the final Hubble repair mission launched in 2009 included a $70 million instrument designed by a CU-Boulder team and constructed with the help of Boulder’s Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which also built the high resolution spectrograph launched on Hubble in 1990. Known as the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, the CU instrument is being used to probe the fossil record of gases in the early universe for clues to the formation and evolution of galaxies, stars and planets, according to principal investigator and CU-Boulder Professor James Green of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy.
In 1989, the space shuttle Atlantis carried NASA’s Galileo spacecraft into orbit, the first leg of a six-year journey to Jupiter and its moons. The science instruments included two CU-Boulder ultraviolet spectrographs designed and built by LASP at a cost of $3.5 million under the direction of retired Professor Charles Hord and which were used for research ranging from analyzing complex organic molecules in the Jovian system to documenting the activity of volcanoes on one of Jupiter’s moons, Io.
In 1991, Discovery launched the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite carrying seven instruments, including an $8 million instrument called the Solar Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment, or SOLSTICE, designed and built by LASP. The satellite went on to make accurate measurements of the sun in the ultraviolet and far UV light for a full 11-year solar cycle, allowing scientists to better understand the effects of solar radiation on Earth’s atmosphere and climate, said SOLSTICE Mission Manager Tom Sparn.
CU-Boulder’s LASP also built and flew two space shuttle payloads — one in 1998 aboard Columbia and a second in 2001 on Endeavour — that allowed scientists and students to explore the gentle collisions of particles of dust in space. The experiment provided new insights into the fundamental processes thought to have helped form planetary rings and perhaps played a role in the earliest stages of planet formation.
In addition, a small satellite designed and built by a LASP team that was to be deployed from the Challenger space shuttle in 1986 to orbit Earth and observe Halley’s comet was lost during the tragic explosion.
CU also flew experiments targeting the mechanics of granular material three times on space shuttles — in 1996, 1997 and 2003. Led by civil, environmental and architectural engineering Professor Stein Sture, now CU-Boulder’s vice chancellor for research, and managed by LASP, the tests allowed scientists to observe the behavior and cohesiveness of granular materials in microgravity and have led to a better understanding of how Earth’s surface responds during earthquakes and landslides. The 2003 mission successfully returned data from the in-flight experiments, but the seven astronauts and experimental hardware were lost when Columbia disintegrated during re-entry.
CU-Boulder’s involvement with the space shuttle program also included three payloads designed, built and flown by students, primarily undergraduates, from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium headquartered in aerospace engineering sciences. The first payload, dubbed ESCAPE, and which flew on Discovery in 1993, measured the sun’s effects on Earth’s atmosphere using a spectrometer to record extreme UV solar radiation and a camera to photograph the sun. The effort included the participation of nearly 100 students, primarily undergraduates, over a two-year span.
ESCAPE-2, flown on Atlantis in 1994, was a follow-on version of the Escape 1 payload that probed how solar radiation affected Earth’s thermosphere, a portion of Earth’s upper atmosphere. The payload involved about 75 students, mostly undergraduates, said Colorado Space Grant Consortium Director Chris Koehler.
A third CU-Boulder student-built space shuttle payload known as DATA-CHASER, was a two-part experiment launched aboard Discovery in 1997. The payload included hardware to test advanced remote technologies, as well as instruments to measure the sun in far UV wavelengths. DATA-CHASER was designed and built and tested by dozens of CU-Boulder students, primarily undergraduates, over a three-year span.
So what’s on deck at CU-Boulder following the end of NASA’s space shuttle program, in terms of both manned and unmanned flight vehicles? Hardware and experiments developed by BioServe already are manifested on various international resupply vehicles traveling to the International Space Station as well as on U.S. spacecraft now under development, said BioServe Director Louis Stodieck.
In August 2010 CU-Boulder was one of nine institutions selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to participate in a newly formed Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation. The center focuses on four major research areas: space launch operations and traffic management; launch vehicle systems; commercial human space flight; and space commerce, including law, insurance, policy and regulation. All are aimed at ensuring safe and efficient private human space flight for non-NASA missions, said aerospace engineering Professor Dave Klaus, who directs the new CU-Boulder center.
CU-Boulder also is involved in a research partnership with Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colo., which is designing and building a manned spacecraft called the Dream Chaser intended to replace the space shuttle for transporting humans and cargo into low-Earth orbit. Sierra Nevada has received about $200 million in NASA contracts to design and build the vehicle, which will be launched vertically and can land on conventional runways.
As part of its collaboration, Sierra Nevada is funding a CU team led by Klaus to develop methods for evaluating safety and operational aspects of the spacecraft. Klaus’ lab has a mock-up cockpit section of the Dream Chaser being used to test the ergonomic layout for instrument displays and controls. The students on the project are being advised by CU-Boulder’s Voss — who also is a vice president at Sierra Nevada Corp. — and his colleague Joe Tanner, both of whom joined the CU-Boulder faculty after retiring as NASA astronauts.
CU-Boulder currently is housing a full-scale mock-up of the Dream Chaser based on an earlier design of the spacecraft, as well as a 15 percent scale model that was successfully flight tested by a team including Sierra Nevada engineers and CU aerospace engineering faculty and students in December 2010. The hope of Sierra Nevada and CU-Boulder is that the Dream Chaser will provide routine crew transportation to and from the International Space Station as NASA turns its focus to deep space exploration missions.
In December 1990, when the space shuttle Columbia launched, Commander Vance Brand took with him a 10,000-year-old Paleo-Indian spear point that had been discovered on Colorado’s eastern plains. One wonders what the thundering liftoff of a NASA space shuttle might have looked like through the eyes of the earliest Americans, and what the next 10,000 years holds for human exploration of space in the solar system and beyond.
For more information visit the “CU in Space” website at http://www.colorado.edu/news/reports/space/.