Press Release

eSpace Emerges as Mentor for Space Entrepreneurs

By SpaceRef Editor
August 3, 2009
Filed under , ,
eSpace Emerges as Mentor for Space Entrepreneurs

Center Expands Board of Directors, Adds New Government Liaison to Help Start-ups Succeed in Aerospace Industry, Recessionary Economy

eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship, a non-profit business incubator for aerospace companies, today announced that it has added new members to its board of directors and a new member to its team of government liaisons. Already lauded for workforce development programs that encourage high school and college students to enter the aerospace industry, eSpace now fortifies its position as mentor with high-level, connected advisors and guides who can help space entrepreneurs succeed in the highly-regulated, tight-knit aerospace industry during a recessionary economy.

“We bring a wide range of resources to the table for start-up space companies, including office space, infrastructure, and grants,” said Diane Dimeff, director of eSpace. “But perhaps our most valuable resource is people with the experience and connections that can help these entrepreneurs build companies. We have the perfect union of knowledgeable representatives from government, industry and academia who can provide advice and help open doors that would otherwise be barriers to entry. All our executives are highly involved and deeply passionate.”

Passion for the eSpace mission has taken the center on an extraordinary journey. Launched in January 2009 as a partnership between the University of Colorado at Boulder and Sierra Nevada’s Space Systems Group (formerly SpaceDev), eSpace has already selected the first three companies to participate in the eSpace Incubator: Net-Centric Design Professionals, Space Awareness Services, and Zybek Advanced Products. In addition, eSpace has begun work to develop additional centers in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab and NASA.

The eSpace Lineup

The eSpace team includes members of the board of directors as well as advisors and liaisons. The newest members of the eSpace team are:

* Lisa Lockyer, deputy director, New Ventures and Communications Directorate, NASA Ames Research Center (eSpace liaison). The Directorate provides an integrated approach to relationships with industry, academic and government partners. Ms. Lockyer leads Ames’ Innovative Partnerships Program and is also responsible for business development, public affairs, government affairs, education, and strategic planning.

* Merri Sanchez (eSpace board member). Dr. Sanchez has over 25 years experience as a NASA engineer and manager in human spaceflight. She is assigned as the NASA Liaison to the Air Force Space Command and the Northern Command where she represents NASA-wide interests.

* George Sowers, vice president of business development, United Launch Alliance (eSpace board member). Dr. Sowers is responsible for strategic planning, advanced technology development, advanced concept development and new business acquisition efforts.

Lockyer, Sanchez and Sowers join a distinguished group that includes:

eSpace board of directors:

* Chairman Mark N. Sirangelo, executive vice president, Sierra Nevada Corporation. Mr. Sirangelo is responsible for the company’s Space System Group and is Chairman of the SNC Space System Board. He is also the current Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, and board member of the California Space Authority.

* David N. Allen, associate vice president for technology transfer, University of Colorado. Dr. Allen has responsibility for intellectual property and technology licensing matters across the three CU campuses. In FY 2007-08, CU’s Technology Transfer Office received 237 invention disclosures, executed 58 licensing agreements, received $6.1M in revenue and helped create 11 start-up companies based on CU IP.

* Frank Backes, chief executive officer, Braxton Technologies, LLC. As CEO, Mr. Backes has been instrumental in expanding Braxton’s presence in the Command and Control (C2) market, leveraging new products and services that support the entire lifecycle of a C2 system. Mr. Backes received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) 2009 Award for the Services category in the Rocky Mountain Region. In addition, Mr. Backes has developed relationships with the leaders of the space industry that have led to critical contract awards from NASA, U.S. Air Force, and the DOE.

* Daniel N. Baker, director, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Baker is also Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and Professor of Physics. His primary research interest is the study of plasma physical and energetic particle phenomena in planetary magnetospheres and in the Earth’s vicinity.

* Jeffrey M. Forbes, professor and Glenn Murphy Endowed Chair, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder. Retired as Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force Reserves, Mr. Forbes earned his B.S.E.E. from the University of Rhode Island (1968), his M.S.E.E. from the University of Illinois (1970), and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University (1975).

* Cary W. Ludtke, vice president and general manager, Civil and Operational Space division, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. As vice president, Mr. Ludtke is responsible for the acquisition and execution of space programs for civil and commercial customers, as well as technology development to enable and implement those programs. Mr. Ludtke is also a board member of the Space Science Institute.

* R.C. “Merc” Mercure, founder and CEO, CDM Optics; and president, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Foundation. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a Ph.D. in physics in 1957, Mr. Mercure helped start the Ball Brothers Research Corporation, which later became Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation.

* M. Scott Trimboli, director, Center for Space Studies, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. In addition to serving as CSS director, Dr. Trimboli is on the faculty of the College of Engineering and Applied Science where he directs master’s degree programs in Systems Engineering, Engineering Management, and Space Operations.

eSpace liaison:

* Casey Anglada DeRaad, director, Phillips Technology Institute, Air Force Research Laboratory. Ms. DeRaad is principally responsible for research and education collaborations with academia, industry and government to establish a nationally recognized center for space and directed energy research and development at the Kirtland Technology Park.

Additional Resources

News release: eSpace Incubates First Round of Space Entrepreneurs; 7/14/09;

eSpace website:

eSpace incubator:

eSpace blog:


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About eSpace

eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship is a non-profit organization formed as a partnership of the University of Colorado, a national leader in aerospace engineering, and the Space System Group of Sierra Nevada Corporation, a leading entrepreneurial space company located in Louisville, Colorado; and funded, in part, by a Metro Denver WIRED Initiative grant. eSpace is dedicated to creating new entrepreneurial space companies, commercializing aerospace technologies created within these companies and developing a passionate aerospace workforce to support these companies. Visit

SpaceRef staff editor.