Lift Off: The Leadville Connection
Mission Assurance: Meet Rocketman Neighbor Jeff Ashby
Did you know that today’s historic space mission has a Leadville Connection? Well, at least a Lake County connection! If you haven’t already, meet your Twin Lakes neighbor and Chief of Mission Assurance at Blue Origin, Jeff Ashby. You could say he’s the other “Jeff” at the Seattle-based commercial space flight company.
A retired NASA astronaut, Jeff Ashby and his wife Mary are part-time residents of Twin Lakes located in southern Lake County. Ashby completed three space shuttle missions including orbital delivery of the Chandra X-ray telescope and two flights to assemble the International Space Station (ISS). Today his role calls for “overseeing a full life-cycle engineering process to identify and mitigate design, production, test, and field support deficiencies threatening mission success.” And considering this morning’s successful launch, it appears this neighbor’s abilities are literally out-of-this-world! Congratulations on a successful mission, Jeff Asby and Team Blue!
And if his schedule hasn’t been busy enough helping to build rocket ships, Ashby has demonstrated his generous spirit since his arrival to southern Lake County in 2018, by dedicating some time and resources to such projects as Lake County’s Southern Fire Station fundraising efforts. For residents fortunate to attend, Ashby’s presentation included “High Perspective – Photos and stories of our beautiful planet as seen from space.”
What Leadville Today readers may remember most recently about Ashby is his survival after a near-deadly fall off La Plata Peak back on July 15, 2019. The 67-year-old’s 24-hour survival story after falling 500-feet down the side of Colorado’s 5th tallest mountain, followed by a cold Colorado night above – the very space he flew through – and a challenging rescue mission by first responders. Leadville Today was honored to speak directly to the former NASA Astronaut to get his exclusive story.
It speaks to his sheer determination, a leadership quality he carries over into real-world management at Blue Origin. In fact, to date, there are only 580 earthlings who have ever gone into space. And as the final frontier expands its options for extraterrestrial travel, it’s nice to know that a friend and neighbor with a Leadville Connection is in charge of mission assurance.
What’s Going On Over There?
Cone Zone: South of Leadville Today
The Colorado Department of Transportation and APC Southern Construction continue with their improvements to US Highway 24 and Colorado Highway 300 in Lake County. The project is part of CDOT Rural Paving Program and will improve approximately 17 miles of US 24. The plan begins south of Leadville at Mile Point 176 and continuing west to MP 194. Work will take place on CO 300 from MP 0–4.4. Motorists should anticipate one lane of alternating traffic and plan for travel delays of up to 15 minutes.
Work on both roadways includes resurfacing a total of approximately 21.4 miles with deck milling, sealing, and repaving at bridge structures; erosion control; guardrail replacement; signing and final striping. Shoulder widening on US 24 will take place between MP 178 and MP 181. The project is expected to be completed in October 2021.
This project will enhance safety for motorists traveling along the two-lane highway. Once the resurfacing work is completed, drivers will find a smoother roadway surface with new guardrail, new signage, high visibility markings and stabilized shoulders. These enhancements will make the highway safer for residents, visitors and commercial truck traffic.