American global defense and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, recently announced plans to invest $1,000,000 in establishing an additive manufacturing facility at Denver's Metropolitan State University. This lab would be the first of its kind in Colorado, dedicated to developing 3D printing aerospace parts intended to shape “the workforce of the future in manufacturing affordable, capable, innovative spacecraft.”

Funding Timeline & Usage of Funds

The million-dollar investment will be distributed over a period of four years. It will be used to set up the manufacturing laboratory, as well as to support an endowed direction for the Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute.

Brian O’Connor, vice president of production operations at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, had this to say, “We're helping students design with those new concepts in mind so the next space missions are innovative, affordable and faster to market. This lab will help students unleash their creativity in engineering tomorrow's great advancements.”

Collaborative Aspects

Lockheed Martin and the Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR) has collaborated to promote the aerospace industry to local college and high school students. The addition of the 3D printing facility will likely be a huge draw for students in the area who are interested in the sector.

In tandem with this, Lockheed Martin provides a two-week summer program that offers hands-on projects at Lockheed Martin facilities intended to show students what a career in aerospace may be like.

A student at Rock Canyon High School, Aditya Gopalum, said, “You learn about all these different programs so if you decide you want to change your track you can do it now,”

Other Funding to Metropolitan State University

Metropolitan State University has also recently received investments for the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences program from York Space Systems and Hartwig Inc. The latter has signed a 10-year agreement with the school to supply $2,000,000 in CNC machining solutions. The school, in return, will offer access to Aerospace and Engineering facilities for use in demonstrations.

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As far as York Space Systems goes, the Denver-based company will be moving headquarters to the new facility where it will manufacture dozens of small satellites a year. Students attending the university will have access to the company’s communication room and be given special insight into manufacturing of satellites for the United States Army.

Stephen M. Jordan, Ph.D., MSU Denver President, said, “With support from key partners like Lockheed Martin, MSU Denver can offer students educational opportunities that directly address workforce needs in Colorado's key industry clusters. Students now have the rare opportunity to work with technology and equipment used by some of the top advanced manufacturing companies in the world.”

With 3D printing become more commonplace as time goes on, it’s no surprise that companies like Lockheed Martin are looking for ways to be of assistance to students who plan to be involved in the sectors they operate in. It certainly sounds as if Denver is in a unique position by offering such an advantageous program.