Former CU Boulder professor George Born inducted into state’s Space Heroes Hall of Fame


Former University of Colorado Boulder professor George Born was inducted into the Colorado Space Heroes Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Born, who died in January 2016, was an aerospace engineer and founder of CU’s Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research.

“Dr. George Born tremendously impacted Colorado’s space economy,” said Kathleen Vinson, vice president of the Space Foundation.

The Space Foundation, a nonprofit space education and advocacy group, created the Colorado Space Heroes Hall of Fame in 2016. The award is presented every two years to Colorado residents who have made contributions in the space arena that span a decade or more.

During his career, Born won seven NASA awards for technical and managerial contributions while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where he worked on numerous interplanetary missions. He also provided lunar orbits and navigational support for the Apollo program.

“(Born’s) seminal work in the fields of astrodynamics and remote sensing has profoundly impacted mankind’s ability to observe and understand our changing Earth,” Vinson said.

Born began working at CU Boulder in 1985 as a professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. While at the university, he founded the CCAR, the first research center established in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In 2004, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering for contributions to satellite geodesy and oceanography. In 2015, he was recognized as a distinguished professor.

Jade Morton, the director of CCAR, called Born a “trailblazer.”

“Under his leadership, CCAR has produced outstanding leaders that contributed to this nation’s space sciences and technology development,” Morton said. “His legacy will continue to inspire new generations of CCAR faculty, researchers and students to discover and explore new frontiers in astrodynamics…”

George Thomas Marsh, former executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, and Gen. Kevin Chilton, a mechanical engineer and former test pilot and commander, are also being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

Born, Chilton and Marsh are joining seven former inductees, including astronaut James Irwin, an Apollo 15 pilot, and Alan Stern, the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission to Pluto.

“Colorado has always pioneered frontiers and this newest class of inductees continues that tradition of leadership, initiative and achievement,” said Space Foundation CEO Tom Zelibor in a statement.

“Colorado is home to some of the world’s greatest space leaders and capabilities. We are in their debt and humbled to honor them.”

The Colorado Space Heroes Hall of Fame can be found on the Space Foundation’s website at