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SpaceX Co-Founder, U of I Alumnus to Speak at U of I Coeur d’Alene

February 09, 2024

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene will host innovative rocket engineer Tom Mueller ’85 in a visit with U of I and North Idaho College computer science students 10-11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 23, in Seiter Hall Room 102 on the NIC campus. The event is open to the public on a limited-seating basis.

Mueller, who is a North Idaho native, earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from U of I’s College of Engineering before launching a 35-year career in rocket engineering and development. As one of the world’s leading propulsion development and rocket engine designers, Mueller partnered with Elon Musk to co-found Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX. He has since gone on to establish Impulse Space, a pioneering space technology company.

U of I Professor of Mechanical Engineering Larry Stauffer, who organized the event, said Mueller has continued to be engaged with his alma mater. He has visited U of I in years past, was inducted into the College of Engineering’s Academy of Engineers in 2017 and earned an honorary doctorate in engineering from U of I in 2018.

“Tom is an accomplished engineer who has made incredible achievements in his career,” Stauffer said. “I am always impressed at how easily he talks with students and the way they respond to him. The story of his journey from your typical high school student in St. Maries to one of the most accomplished rocket engineers has inspired many students and professionals alike.”

Mueller’s visit includes a private tour of U of I’s Center for Intelligent Industrial Robotics with U of I Coeur d’Alene students in the Hedlund Building on NIC’s campus.

The event is hosted by U of I’s College of Engineering in collaboration with NIC’s Math, Computer Science and Engineering Division.

Media Contact:

Larry Stauffer
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
University of Idaho

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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