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UTEP Secures Air Force Grant on Space Debris Research

Space junk study

UTEP Secures Air Force Grant on Space Debris Research

The University of Texas at El Paso will lead a study on Unresolved Resident Space Objects under a five-year, $5 million grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s Space University Research Initiative. The research team will study URSOs using spectroscopy and integrate methods like remote sensing and laboratory experiments with telescope observations.

According to Miguel Velez-Reyes, chairman of UTEP’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, the research findings will have defense and commercial value and will be used to monitor URSO traffic and the status of government-owned and commercial space assets, UTEP said Thursday.    

Velez-Reyes, who will spearhead the research team, pointed out that the research will contribute to developing safeguards for GPS, weather satellites and other space services. The study’s findings will be valuable, especially for the U.S. Space Force and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, he added.

Other government agencies are leading efforts toward space debris tracking and identification, with the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity among them. In August, IARPA awarded four-year contracts to West Virginia University Research Corp., A-Tech, Advanced Space and SRI International for the development of orbital junk monitoring solutions under the Space Debris Identification and Tracking program.

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Category: Space