UTRGV to launch space exploration research center 


UTRGV to launch space exploration research center 

With an investment of $9 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and The University of Texas System and the arrival of SpaceX, the new UT Rio Grande Valley will be home to STARGATE, the first research center and cooperative effort with SpaceX to develop and support commercialization of phased-array technology for satellite and space vehicle communication.

A radio frequency technology park,  the STARGATE facility will be located adjacent to the SpaceX launch site command center. When not being used for launches, SpaceX facilities will be used by student and faculty researchers at STARGATE for training, scientific research and technology development. A total of $4.4 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, $4.6 million from the UT System and $500,000 from the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation will enable STARGATE researchers to develop the next generation of radio signal receiving and transmitting systems based on “phased-array” technology. This technology has the potential to be transformational in the commercial space and aviation sectors as well as in commercial communications markets.

“This is more than a once-in-a-generation or once-in-a-lifetime moment; this is history in the making,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. “The research partnerships we are establishing hold the promise to catapult the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to the leading edge in the study of astrophysics. Our students and faculty will be assisting with space launches and exploration – that is a matchless experience that offers incredible possibilities for research.”

UT Brownsville’s Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy (CARA) will initially partner with SpaceX to create STARGATE. UTB’s teaching and research program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy was key to establishing the partnership.

In addition to laboratories for research and development, STARGATE will also be home to a focused business incubator that will help promote space exploration related businesses in the region.