The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) has unveiled a new centre at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston that will focus on advancing the adoption of digital engineering toolsets and processes for space applications, and equip the next generation of aerospace innovators with modern engineering skills.
Digital engineering is an emerging field of study that is crucial to the efficient design of aerospace hardware. Instead of having to manufacture and assemble parts to test them, designs can now be built, tested and refined in virtual environments. The goal of the digital engineering process is to enable a singular, digital source for the project that’s accessible to all partners and can be used throughout the development lifecycle. The digital engineering process is designed to reduce technical risk and help the development schedule, while also enabling collaboration from a variety of geographic locations.
UTEP’s Aerospace Center will operate the Digital Engineering Design Center (DEDC) and oversee efforts to provide immersive, project-based training to students enrolled in the programme. NASA engineers will offer hands-on learning experiences to students on the digital engineering skills required to support NASA projects, while UTEP professors will provide instructions on digital engineering software. In-situ resource utilisation, which can enable Artemis astronauts to collect, store and use resources found on the Moon and Mars will be among the centre’s key focus areas.
‘The DEDC will help prepare a modern American aerospace workforce by equipping it with valuable skills in digital engineering and encourage even more students to become engineers,’ said Julie Kramer White, director of engineering at NASA Johnson (pictured above). ‘Collaborations like this one show we are committed to having the most talented, diverse and motivated engineers who can continue to meet the exploration goals of the agency.’