ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Eight students from New Mexico will be given the chance to take part in an academic, aerospace project. The “Mission Concept Program” involves the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and NASA.

University Nanosatellite Program (UNP) deploys the program, and it’s sponsored by AFRL’S Space Vehicles Directorate.

“As a former student of Michigan Tech, I participated in UNP from 2013-2018, and I can attest that the program will absolutely influence future generations of scientists and engineers for exciting careers in the aerospace industry and benefit everyone involved,” said Small Satellite Branch Manager Jesse Olson.

The UNP has been around for about 24 years and is pairing up AFRL and NASA with eight universities for the most recent course. See the selected universities below.

  • Florida Institute of Technology, Florida
  • University of the Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • University of South Florida, Florida
  • University of New Mexico, New Mexico
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology, Missouri
  • New Mexico State University, New Mexico
  • Columbia University, New York
  • Tarleton State University, Texas

Students with those universities will be working on satellite development, cycles/schedules, competitive proposals, mission design, systems engineering, and preparing for the next nanosatellite cycle in 2024. They will get science and aerospace experience through the program.

Only four students from each school will be selected for the opportunity, and the month-long session will take place at Kirtland Air Force Base.

“This program helps us support universities by providing hands-on experience to the students and fosters collaboration among academia, industry and government, driving DOD-relevant [Department of Defense] technology in aerospace and space science,” Olson said. “The Mission Concept Program includes a diverse set of students from the participating universities who will have the opportunity to work on real-world satellite projects and gain valuable skills that are in high demand in the aerospace and space industries. The program seeks to help new universities enter the field of small satellites by promoting interdisciplinary collaboration, sparking innovation and ultimately inspire the next generation of aerospace leaders.”

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