MSU Denver brings space industry to campus

9NEWS at 5 p.m. 3/2/17.

DENVER - For students like Rachael McKee, finding the right space can be a challenge at times for students who like -- space.

"We strive to provide a safe environment for space kids that love space," McKee said.

She is a junior at Metropolitan State University of Denver and vice president of a club called Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

"I just love space," McKee said. "I think its really interesting and endless amounts of opportunities."

McKee is majoring in aviation and aerospace operations. She is happy to hear that MSU Denver has partnered with a Denver-based company called York Space Systems to create a satellite factory on campus on the fourth floor of the Engineering Sciences Building which is still under construction.

"Real world education by partnering with other industries," McKee said.

Dr. Robert Park is the director of the Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute which will oversee this entire collaboration. York Space Systems will create 16 full-time jobs on campus to put together up to 200 satellites per year with help from students of MSU Denver. 

"They can work on a daily basis with actual practicing engineers," Park said. "It's not just theory at this point. It's very much practice."

York CEO Dirk Wallinger released a statement:

"Colorado has the nation’s second-largest aerospace economy, which makes our state a really exciting hub for innovation in the industry. Our partnership with MSU Denver gives York Space Systems a unique opportunity to help educate, train and employ the aerospace leaders of tomorrow. MSU Denver’s state-of-the-art facilities will let students work alongside our engineers to design and build satellites — and we believe there’s just no match for real-world experience. By joining forces, we will be able contribute greatly to the economic growth in our community and solidify Colorado’s stake in the Race to Space.” 

Park says this will help address a universal issue of a "skills gap."

"Positions are available. We actually have thousands of positions in manufacturing available throughout the country, but we don't the candidates that are qualified to assume those positions," Park said.

McKee hopes this will encourage more students to go into fields related to advanced manufacturing.

"You could have a million brains in one room, but if someone doesn't know how to pick up a wrench and actually build a rocket, we'll need people like that," McKee said.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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