A 2014 ARCS Colorado Chapter Scholar participated in a significant event in Denver in March.
Members of the Colorado State House and Senate unanimously passed a resolution declaring March 24, 2014 as Colorado Aerospace Day. As part of the celebration of the reading of this important resolution, several major universities in Colorado, as well as many major space businesses, participated in a space research/space business trade show held in the state capitol building. The aerospace programs of University of Colorado Boulder were represented by students including, ARCS/ Lockheed Martin Scholar (SOS) Christine Fanchiang. Ms. Fanchiang is pursuing her Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences, hoping to graduate this December. Her undergraduate degree was a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT ’07, and she has an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado ’10. With executives from some of the state’s major space-travel companies also in attendance, the legislators noted that Colorado receives $1.8 billion in prime NASA contracts each year, is home to 170,000 aerospace jobs, and ranks first in the nation in per-capita aerospace employment. But in Senate Joint Resolution -20 legislators also called on the federal government to accelerate human spaceflight development efforts, including “regaining the ability of the United States to deliver persons and cargo to space by 2015.” The resolution doesn’t specify how to do that, but does go on to call on NASA to commit to “sending persons to destinations such as the moon, Lagrange points, asteroids, and Mars within this decade or as soon as technologically possible.” Ms. Fanchiang’s career goals are certainly in line with these objectives. She intends ”to be an explorer on the moon or even Mars.” She says, “My research is focused on developing a predictive human performance model to help spacecraft designers assess the suitability of their design for safe human operations. This model could help designers better understand the relationship between their design and its effect on crew performance, thus help improve vehicle safety. With this work, I hope to help strengthen the commercial space industry and increase the economic viability for humans to explore space and eventually bring humanity back to the moon and beyond.”