On April 8th, a group of students from Bauman Moscow State Technical University visited Texas A&M University with their hosts from Rice University. The Space Engineering Research Center (SERC) was one of the stops for the group, who were briefed on several aerospace projects and centers across campus. The A&M visit follows 10 days of activities for the students sponsored by the Rice University Baker Institute Space Policy Program, led by Baker Botts Senior Fellow in Space Policy (and former NASA executive) George W.S. Abbey. During these 10 days, the 12 graduate and undergraduate students toured a variety of NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and Houston area university locations.
At the SERC, Chip Hill, the Center Director, provided a history of key space developments at Texas A&M and current space research interest areas. Dr. Cable Kurwitz briefed the students on the principles of thermal management for spacecraft, and on some of the projects he is engaged in related to fluids and two phase thermal management systems. Dr. Frank Little discussed the concept of space solar power beaming, and fielded a number of questions from the interested students on technical parameters associated with this technology. During a walk around the SERC University Services Building (USB), Matt Leonard, a NASA/JSC engineer on assignment to the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, pointed out some of the components of the Shuttle Mission Simulator in which the NASA astronauts trained. Chip Hill then led the group into the Sensor Test Laboratory and provided an overview of the space simulation and camera testing research that TAMU and SERC have been conducting. Present TAMU student Peter Mack Grubb provided additional background on the space object analysis he and Dr. Tom Pollock of the Aerospace Engineering Department have been performing in the Fine Scale Optical Range portion of the Sensor Test Lab, a subject several of the visitors found quite interesting. It was a long day for the students, with two more stops before they headed back to Houston, and then home to Moscow.