In August, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science hosted some of Colorado’s leading aerospace companies for a live broadcast of the WorldView-3 satellite launch. The event celebrated Colorado’s aerospace heritage. We presented special aerospace-themed activities, including build-your-own Alka-Seltzer water rockets, a panel discussion, and a live launch broadcast.
I particularly enjoyed participating in this event because it showcased the collaborative nature of our state. Five Colorado-based aerospace companies each played a critical role in building and launching WorldView-3, the most sophisticated commercial imaging satellite ever put into orbit. Ball Aerospace, DigitalGlobe, and Exelis developed satellite instruments and imagery systems. A United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle provided by Lockheed Martin put the satellite into orbit. From start to finish, WorldView-3 was a joint venture.
The collaboration spans beyond the scientists who built the 18-foot, super-spectral, high-resolution genius. At the beginning of this year, a federal bipartisan budget deal included more than $2.7 billion for space projects based in Colorado. This goes to show how much we can accomplish when we work together, and the innovative place our state has become for space exploration and development.
The Museum values being the place where these collaborations come together and merge into fun, engaging science programs for our community. Steve Lee, curator of planetary sciences, moderated the panel discussion during the launch. A Broomfield father later thanked Steve and the Museum for organizing these types of events because it gave him and his children a unique educational experience to enjoy together. As I witnessed our guests enthusiastically calling “5-4-3-2-1 …” as the rocket boosters lit, I realized the audience was just as thankful and excited as I was to be a part of this experience.