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
|Contact: Jim Scott|
University of Colorado at Boulder