In Colorado, Space-Aged Technology Isn’t Only Found in Space

In Colorado, Space-Aged Technology Isn’t Only Found in Space

  • Technology
  • June 1, 2022
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  • 7 minutes read


How it sounds: a flight from Denver to anywhere in the world in less than three hours. Plus, you can skip the DIA security queues. If Adams County does, that dream will manifest itself in the Colorado Space and Air Port (CASP).

Formerly known as Front Range Airport, this general aviation center changed its name when it received a license for space operations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2018. But even though it is one of 13 space ports approved by the FAA, basically commercial space launch sites. , unlike NASA’s Cape Cane complex, don’t expect spectacular rocket launches. Instead, CASP will have spacecraft that take off and land like traditional aircraft, but may temporarily leave the atmosphere behind.

Adams County is betting that space tourism teams could use the technology for fast round-trip suborbital travel at the end of the decade. CASP officials expect the site to be the perfect place for space tourists, says County Deputy Jim Siedlecki, because they would rather make the 14-mile DAY transfer to CASP for their flight than board a bus, e.g. in Albuquerque for three. -One-hour trip through the desert to the spaceport America rival New Mexico. “It simply came to our notice then [their trip] around a weekend that includes a game of the Rockies and walking a fourteen, “he says.” That’s the kind of thing we imagine when we think about the future. “

There’s also no reason why these spacecraft should land back at CASP, which means it could become a hub for airliners capable of taking you to the other side of the world in a matter of hours. The facility already has an agreement with Spaceport Cornwall in the UK to do so, once the technology is available.

That’s the plan, anyway, but for now, CASP is still a general aviation airport. “Dedicated space ports are a one-trick pony right now fighting revenue,” Siedlecki says. “Aviation will pay our bills to move forward, and if there’s a turning point where aerospace is starting to make more money, that’s great. We have the ability to manage both.”

More than 3,300: Speed, in miles per hour, that future spacecraft will be able to reach after taking off at CASP


The need for speed

A Colorado company is betting on its future for a decades-old concept: a supersonic passenger plane.

When the Concorde withdrew in 2003, supersonic air travel followed the dodo’s path: without flying. Now, a Denver startup is working to reclaim passenger planes that break down sound barriers of extinction. Although the 65- to 88-seat Overture airliner Boom Supersonic is not scheduled to board passengers until 2029, the company has already signed an agreement to provide United Airlines with 15 aircraft. receive $ 270 million in investment from a company like American Express. and the U.S. Air Force, which is currently seeking a high-speed Air Force One. This is what hype is all about.

Cruise altitude

You will be able to use your large electronic devices at about 60,000 feet, or about two Longs Peaks above the current airliners and high enough for the sky to start turning black.

Clear skies

Boom plans to use sustainable aviation fuel made from renewable biomass (think algae and manure), which could help the company achieve carbon neutrality.

All companies

Individual airlines will set the final prices, but Boom is designing the Overture to be profitable at rates comparable to a current business class ticket.

Maximum speed

The Overture should reach Mach 1.7, or about 1,300 miles per hour, fast enough to cut three hours from the current six-and-a-half-hour flight time from New York to London.

Interval

Boom planes will travel 4,888 miles without refueling. This is 700 miles away from the Concorde and approximately the distance from Seattle to Tokyo.


Earthwork

We wouldn’t trust college students to borrow our Subarus, but that hasn’t stopped CU Boulder from handing them the keys to multimillion-dollar satellites.

Glenn Asakawa / Courtesy of CU Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder is famous for producing future astronauts, but its current students don’t have to complete the decade of rigorous, highly specialized training it needs to become a space jockey to reach beyond Earth. “They just have to take what we call the 101 spacecraft,” says Dan Baker, director of CU’s LASP.

The extracurricular class teaches interested undergraduate students how to operate and maintain satellites; then, after passing a battery of tests as difficult as any final you have ever done, they are hired by LASP. Typically, between 20 and 30 students are on staff, often passing between classes to oversee missions launched in collaboration with NASA, private companies, or even foreign countries (such as the United Arab Emirates) that need the experience of LASP.

When students receive their degrees, they will have collected data from rare cosmic phenomena such as black holes while learning to maximize the life of their rooms by preparing them for people such as NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. which manages the Hubble and James Webb telescopes. While LASP has led the way in the education of student flight controllers, a handful of other institutions, including Metropolitan State University in Denver, have established similar operations in recent years, sometimes in collaboration. collaboration with companies that have aged satellites to donate (often in exchange for a tax cut). “It’s how things should be,” Baker says. “An academic institution like ours should provide opportunities for students to participate and give them a real place in the professional world.”



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