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College of Engineering | October 17, 2021

Air Force Office of Scientific Research Members Visit UTEP to Address Space and Cyberspace Technology Needs

Air Force Office of Scientific Research Members Visit UTEP to Address Space and Cyberspace Technology Needs


On October 12, 2021, members of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) visited The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to strengthen the collaborative partnerships between the College of Engineering and the United States Air Force (USAF) . The visitors included Brett Pokines, Ph.D., James Keith, Lt Col Paul Dolce, John Leslie, Donald Morales, Michelle Zeisset, Ph.D., and Robert Edmonds, Ph.D.

UTEP’s President Heather Wilson led the initial meeting followed by a technical discussion focusing on science and engineering issues revolving around the Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) development. The purpose of the technical discussion session was to explore research opportunities and science problems in hypersonic aerodynamics. The track presents unique technical challenges with high-speed rocket sled testing that are potential areas for academic research, including vibration management, thermal protection, slipper wear management and additive manufacturing applications.

“Operated by the 846th Test Squadron (846 TS), the Holloman High Speed Test Track at HAFB is the world's premier rocket sled test track. It executes world-class rocket sled tests, enabling critical weapon system development in support of the warfighter using world-class people, technical excellence, cost-effectiveness, and agility,” said John Leslie, technical director at HAFB.

As part of other engagements involving College of Engineering leadership, faculty, and students, University leaders discussed the memorandum of understanding between UTEP and HAFB, signed in 2020. It was designed to spur collaboration, allowing students to partake in the innovative technologies developed by the Air Force, and engage diverse groups of engineers and scientists, addressing fundamental research challenges in support of our nation’s air, space and cyberspace technology needs.

“The purpose of the visit was to foster a technical discussion on advancing applied research in hypersonic test and evaluation, offering internships and capstone project opportunities with HAFB, and spuring interest among next-generation engineers to develop STEM workforce,” said Vinod Kumar, Ph.D., associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at UTEP.

These research efforts will result in a long-term collaboration between UTEP, a prominent doctoral granting Minority Serving Institution and HAFB as the premier Air Force Testing Center. The integration of advanced technologies is expected to help this consortium grow interdisciplinary researchers who are trained across multiple disciplines as the new workforce of the future.

College of Engineering Communications

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