Christopher Koehler

Chris Koehler strongly believes in providing students with meaningful hands-on experiences centered on small satellites. He is the Director of NASA’s Colorado Space Grant Consortium, which is headquartered at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is also the Chair of the National Council of Space Grant Directors. Mr. Koehler earned a BS in Aerospace engineering and a MS in Mechanical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1992 and 1994. As a student, he and a team of students launched two Shuttle GAS can payloads in 1992 and 1993, two sounding rockets, and one hitchhiker experiment through the Colorado Space Grant program. After graduation, he worked at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver designing propulsion and antenna systems for large satellites for six years as a senior engineer. During his time at Lockheed Martin, he led over 75 high school students through a 40 week intensive hands-on Engineering Explorers program for 10 years. It was this interaction with students the made Mr. Koehler realize that what he really enjoyed was teaching and mentoring students. In May 2000 he re-joined NASA’s Colorado Space Grant Consortium as the Student Research Coordinator to spend the next portion of his career ensuring students continue to receive hands-on experiences with space. He became the director of the statewide program in November 2005. He began the BalloonSat program in 2000 which has given over 7,500 Colorado students these types of experiences and he has helped start 100 ballooning programs around the country. He created a new hands-on and multidisciplinary course for engineering and science students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This course is one of the more popular courses in the college because student teams design, build, test, and launch a real working satellite in one semester. This course is now being taught throughout the country. He has lead the statewide program called DemoSat in which students from 11 Colorado colleges and universities work with engineers and scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to demonstrate ideas and technologies on high altitude BalloonSats. Students present their results from their missions at JPL each summer. Several students have gone on to work at JPL and other NASA centers. This program is currently in its eighth year. Chris has also led several national hands-on workshops that teach students and faculty how to build both BalloonSats and sounding rocket payloads. These workshops have helped create numerous new programs around the country for college students. Chris continues to work to add new and more challenging hands-on programs for students of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium so that current and future students can graduate with experiences they need to continue the exploration and understanding of space. Chris has managed over 130 student space projects and has mentored and taught over 1,500 hundred students.

Broadcast 1446 (Special Edition)

Guests: Chris Koehler, Shawn Carroll, Emily Logan. Topics: National Space Grant Consortium and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, In our first segment, Chris Koehler introduced us to the National Space Grant Consortium program which was authorized by Congress in 1987. There are 52 Space Grant programs in the country reaching thousands of college level students across the country.

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