Lawmakers Secure Cal Poly Partnership with Air Force Research Laboratory, Directs $2.5 Million to Aerospace Engineering Department

Santa Barbara, CA -- A partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory will direct roughly $2.5 million to Cal Poly to enhance its Aerospace Engineering Department and boost its mini-satellite program.

The Educational Partnership Agreement (EPA) provides a total of $5 million for both Cal Poly campuses, split evenly between Cal Poly and California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. This funding was secured by Representatives Salud Carbajal, Norma J. Torres, and Grace Napolitano within H.R. 1158, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020

EPAs are formal agreements between a defense laboratory and an educational institution. These partnerships allow military labs to provide equipment and personnel to universities and involve faculty and students in military research.

The EPA will help the Air Force lab pioneer transformative aerospace technologies and accelerate its long-term strategic objectives in key areas such as energy security, energy optimization, reusability, maneuverability and multi-mission mobility.

“Military-educational partnerships enhance our national security capabilities and provide students with hands-on learning opportunities that set them up for successful STEM careers,” said Rep. Salud Carbajal. “I am so thankful to my colleagues, Rep. Torres and Rep. Napolitano, for their support, and I look forward to seeing the incredible developments the Cal Poly universities will make in the aerospace field through this partnership with the Air Force.”

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity to further the Learn by Doing ethos that has long given our students a competitive edge,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “With this mutually beneficial collaboration, our students and faculty will help the Air Force enhance its strategic capabilities in space operations through next-generation access to space and maneuverability.”

“Cal Poly is proud of its past contributions to aerospace technology, which have revolutionized space exploration,” said College of Engineering Dean Amy S. Fleischer. “We look forward to being an instrumental part of the next period of significant innovation – which this partnership will help us achieve.”

In particular, the funds for Cal Poly will support a thermal vacuum chamber, with upgraded facilities to support it. The new vacuum chamber will allow researchers to test and develop propulsion for CubeSats – allowing for greater control of the satellites for space exploration.


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