Montana State University

MSU signs agreement with Air Force for space research

April 23, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN -- Montana State University and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate in Albuquerque, N.M., recently signed an agreement for expanded space research collaboration.

The Education Partnership Agreement enables MSU faculty and students and AFRL scientists and engineers to undertake a series of joint research projects. The Space Science and Engineering Laboratory (SSEL) is the lead MSU entity involved with this agreement. It is affiliated with the Department of Physics.

Officials said this agreement builds on a collaboration that is more than 10 years old. In 2003, the SSEL became a participant in the Air Force’s University Nanosatellite Program.  Since then, the SSEL has actively participated in this program, developing small satellites with AFRL’s technical and program guidance. 

Over the past few years, this relationship has deepened as MSU faculty and students have developed satellites in the SSEL that have been tested at AFRL facilities. In addition, MSU nanosatellites have hosted AFRL experiments.

On Jan. 31, 2015, twin FIREBIRD-II satellites built by the SSEL carried advanced AFRL-developed solar cell technologies to evaluate the performance of these advanced solar cells in the space environment. 

In addition to fostering increased space research and technology development, the agreement gives MSU increased access to AFRL technical personnel, specialized test facilities, summer internships and surplus aerospace equipment that can be productively used for research and education.

"AFRL's vision is to stay 'A Step Ahead' in space. By building on our relationship with MSU's educators and students, we see great opportunities for us to expand our knowledge of space science and technology," said Col. David Goldstein, director of AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate.

Evelyn Boswell at (406) 994-5135 or