ASTR 4800-1


Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00 – 3:15 pm
Room E126 Duane Physics Bldg.
Spring Semester 2013

The International Space Station over Earth Saturn V Rocket Launch
The International Space Station over Earth Saturn V Rocket Launch

It is clear that scientific research in the US has contributed greatly to US economic development, to technological readiness, and to political leadership. The US space program, in particular, has been viewed as an important tool of foreign policy and as a demonstration of US technical superiority. Since the end of the Cold War and with changing budgetary climates, the plans and prospects of the space program have dramatically altered.

This course will trace the development of space research and technology in both the civilian and military sectors. Students will be expected to assess scientific and technical accomplishments. They will participate in the analysis of space policies and will be asked to judge critically the effectiveness of projects and programs. Frequent presentations by students will be a key part of the class plan. Materials from government agencies and recent science policy articles will be studied. Guest lecturers from NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Defense will share various perspectives on the space program.

Topics of discussion and debate will include:

  • Civilian and military space programs
  • International space programs
  • Human versus robotic space exploration
  • The balance of basic versus applied research
  • Future of space research initiatives

Course Prerequisites:

ASTR 1200, or equivalent, or PHYS 1110 and 1120, or PHYS 2010 and 2010

Classroom Behavior:

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, color, culture, religion, creed, politics, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression, age, disability, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to Professor Baker with the student's legal name. Professor Baker will honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise him of this preference early in the semester so that he may make appropriate changes to his records. See policies at and at

Discrimination and Harassment:

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. (Regent Law, Article 10, amended 11/8/2001). CU-Boulder will not tolerate acts of discrimination or harassment based upon Protected Classes or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. For purposes of this CU-Boulder policy, "Protected Classes" refers to race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against should contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) at 303-492-5550. Information about the ODH, the above referenced policies, and the campus resources available to assist individuals regarding discrimination or harassment can be obtained at

Class Format:

The class will be carried out with heavy emphasis on student presentations, followed by instructor summaries and discussion. Ideas and concepts will be extensively discussed.


"Frontiers of Space Exploration""Frontiers of Space Exploration" (2nd ed.), by Roger D. Launius, Greenwood Press, 2004.

Coursework and Grading:

Grades will be determined by class participation, oral presentations, a mid-term ~10-page report, and a final 15-page paper. No written tests will be given.

Late Assignments:

Assignments are expected to be on time. Late assignments will lead to reduced grades.

Attendance and Additional Policies:

Attendance at all classes is important for the integrity of the critical thinking aspects of the class. Therefore, it is urged that all students attend all sessions if possible. Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. See full details at

Students with Disabilities:

The classroom (E126, Duane Physics) is accessible to students with disabilities. If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit a letter to Professor Baker from Disability Services in a timely manner (for exam accommodations provide your letter at least one week prior to the exam) so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or by e-mail at If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see Temporary Injuries under Quick Links at Disability Services website and discuss your needs with Professor Baker.

Honor Code:

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion). Other information on the Honor Code can be found at and at


Professor Daniel N. Baker