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UTEP, El Paso to Become Hub of Commercial Space Exploration


UTEP, El Paso to Become Hub of Commercial Space Exploration

July 25, 2013

What: Grand signing ceremony between UTEP and Kyushu Institute of Technology

When: 9:15 a.m. – noon Monday, July 29 (Please view schedule below)

Where: Courtyard between Engineering and Chemistry and Computer Science buildings, and CCSB G.0208

The University of Texas at El Paso will sign a cooperative and international affiliation agreement with Japan's Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) to form a new academic and research partnership. The partnership allows for faculty and student exchange, as well as collaborative research on advancing aerospace technologies. The KyuTech team has been historically funded by JAXA, the Japanese space agency, and plan to collaborate with the NASA University Research Center, Center for Space Exploration Technology Research, at UTEP.

"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." He added, "There is already an interest to utilize this region for aerospace purposes, so we are going to capitalize on this dawn of commercial space exploration by placing ourselves as the strategic lead of capabilities in the area."

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. the Spaceport, or launch site, dedicated solely to commercial space flight plans 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. His view was furthered by Richard Schoephoerster, Dean of the College of Engineering, "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."

09:15 a.m – Welcome and Brief Introduction by Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D.
                    Location: Engineering/CCSB Courtyard

09:30 a.m – Opening Notes by Engineering Dean Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D.
                    Location: Engineering/CCSB Courtyard

09:45 a.m. – Welcome by President Diana Natalicio
                    Location: Engineering/CCSB Courtyard

10:00 a.m – Welcome by Kyutech President Morio Matsunaga
                    Location: Engineering/CCSB Courtyard

10:15 a.m. – Grand Signing Ceremony
                    Location: Engineering/CCSB Courtyard

11:00 a.m. – "Space Engineering Research and Education Activities at Kyutech"
                    Lecture by Koichi Yonemoto, Ph.D., professor at Kyutech

This announcement is also available as a PDF:

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The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437

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