Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Metro State U of Denver links with spacecraft maker for Air Force research contract

By David Schwartz
Published: June 30th, 2020

Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver has partnered with a satellite manufacturer on a federal contract to develop methods for more efficiently processing and analyzing data collected from space.

Small spacecraft maker York Space Systems and MSU have won a Small Business Technology Transfer contract from the U.S. Air Force under which they develop ways to automate image processing and data collection sent by satellite, reports Dirk Wallinger, York CEO and board director.

“Taking pictures is good, but the pictures themselves don’t tell you the action that needs to be taken,” Wallinger said. “That’s the part the MSU-Denver lab will be working on, training students how to take the data and turn it into actual information that helps people here on Earth.”

Students are at the heart of the partnership. “We’re in the business of acquiring data, but we don’t actually analyze that data,” Wallinger said. “That’s work that our customers do. In this case, MSU-Denver is our customer and we will provide data to them. They will provide training to the students on how to analyze data.”

The contract adds to the existing partnership between York and MSU. The company, launched started in 2016, located its office and manufacturing facility in the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building on the MSU campus in lower downtown Denver. The department hosts other private companies in the building as well.

The Air Force contract is another way for industry to work with academia to ensure that the U.S. remains a leader in aerospace and that students can get prepared to enter the workforce, Wallinger said.

Added Jeff Forrest, MSU Denver professor and chairman of the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department: “While we are providing faculty and talented students to support this important research, York is helping us mentor the next generation of aerospace entrepreneurs, so they understand what it takes to succeed in every aspect of space commercialization.”

Source: The Denver Post

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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