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University of Arizona launches U.S. Space Force webinar series

University of Arizona launches U.S. Space Force webinar series


Leslie Hawthorne Klingler Jekan Tanga, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, speaks to a group of students.

The University of Arizona School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (AME) was invited by the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) to host the first webinar in a new series, “Thinking in Deep Space.” Jekan Tanga, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, led the webinar “Beyond Space Domain Awareness: Towards 21st Century Integrated Space Operations” last month.

The invitation to our first webinar series reflects the agency's increased collaboration with us, said Cody Nichols, associate director of research and development national security programs. We are honored to train future space talent and foster research and innovation related to space and national security.

The University was selected as USSPACECOM's first Academic Engagement Enterprise Member in 2022. The membership fosters opportunities for students, faculty, and partners to collaborate on pressing challenges in human security, space exploration, development, and settlement.

The university ranks No. 1 in astronomy and astrophysics spending with more than $123 million, which is 15 percent of all U.S. university spending. It has held this ranking since 1987 and has received significant funding from NASA since the 1960s. AME Department Head Farzad Mahaek is pleased with the university's continued leadership through Tangas research.

Mr. Jekan is a leading figure in our department in the field of space and has strong ties to the Lunar and Planetary Institute. “This is a great opportunity for our department and university to be involved in some of the most exciting research,” he said. On campus. Jekan is also very productive on the teaching side, working with large groups ranging from undergraduates to doctoral students.

During the webinar, Mr. Tanga emphasized the importance of active engagement in the space domain, especially in cislunar space, the region between the Earth and the Moon. He said the presence or absence of U.S. investment in space will have a significant impact not only on life on Earth, but also on America's relative strength in the global environment. Mr. Tanga discussed the importance of object identification in lunar and star space, as traffic volume increases due to the spread of satellites and space debris. Space traffic is expected to increase exponentially with the introduction of large satellite constellations, new space stations, and orbital service facilities. If not managed properly, lunar crowding could hamper future growth prospects and limit access to space.

Tanga said a growing and busy lunar space ecosystem is inevitable. While the solar system represents a potential richness of transformation and opportunity for life on Earth, we also face significant challenges in maintaining security and peace.

Mr. Tanga emphasized the need to apply creative observation to space efforts. For example, the observation of superorganisms that have survived for thousands of years, such as honey bee and termite colonies, suggests that viable, economical, and resilient space platforms and satellite constellations may be needed for smaller, cost-effective microsatellites. It suggests that it can be manufactured from components. If faced with an existential threat, these facilities may break away from formation, disperse, and reconvene elsewhere after the danger has passed. Tanga clarified that while many enabling technologies have been demonstrated, such as 3D printing of components, docking, and robot-assisted assembly, fully autonomous assembly has yet to be tested in space.

To advance lunar and star science, early career scientists and engineers looking for a challenge can develop scalable space-based surveillance systems to track objects and threats in space, or collect and recycle space debris. Tanga believes that it is better to focus on developing comprehensive solutions to He also noted the importance of designing and implementing space traffic management guidelines that minimize further accumulation of space debris.




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