UTEP, El Paso to become hub of commercial space exploration

UTEP, El Paso to become hub of commercial space exploration
MGN Online

POSTED: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 11:10am

UPDATED: Monday, July 29, 2013 - 6:06pm

A new academic and research partnership at the University of Texas at El Paso means the school will introduce and aerospace hub in the borderland to allow research on advancing technologies. 

UTEP signed the agreement with Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech).

“This is more than just a signing ceremony,” said Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., chair and professor of mechanical engineering. “This is a long-term strategy to build this region into a commercial aerospace hub.”

The University plans to work with two nearby entities: Spaceport America and Blue Origin. With a launch and test facility in Van Horn, Texas, Blue Origin, LLC is an aerospace company that plans to develop technology to enable private human access to space. Located in Sierra, N.M., Spaceport America is a launch site dedicated solely to commercial space flight to take customers into space.

Expanding off a winged rocket platform developed by Kyutech, the UTEP collaboration will result in a reusable, suborbital vehicle to validate emerging space technologies. UTEP will provide the propulsion systems and assembly of the vehicle that will utilize avionics and structural components from the Japanese.

“Our goal is to show that our capability goes beyond the lab and training students for aerospace careers,” Choudhuri said.

Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D., dean of the College of Engineering, said, “This ceremony is an indicator of the capacity building UTEP aims for in creating unique opportunities for our region while making international impacts. It also stands as an example of the many exceptional ways we find to educate, train and prepare a more advanced workforce.”

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