The non-profit Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has launched a science and technology research program with the US Space Force and Air Force research laboratory at seven universities, according to a press release issued. Monday. The announcement says the program, dubbed the University Consortium Research Opportunity (UCRO) initiative, will serve as a “critical partnership between USSF and AFRL that connects government to university research.”

“UCRO represents an incredibly unique opportunity for the USRA to support the research efforts of a range of institutions, which will effectively advance the scientific and technical prowess of the USSF and AFRL. Importantly, these established partnerships will also engage a diverse group of undergraduate and postdoctoral research fellows who contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of STEM workforce opportunities within both agencies,” said Senior Vice President Bernard Seery in a public statement.

According to the announcement, the partnership aims to enhance collaboration between the USSF, AFRL and universities to advance meaningful scientific study and provide research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral fellows to stimulate interest in future careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


“USRA’s role in administering UCRO will enable institutions to generate relevant research essential to both USSF and AFRL,” said USRA Director of Education, Amanda Smith Hackler, in a public statement. “The resulting research will undoubtedly support the mission of both agencies and encourage interest in USSF and AFRL among the next generation of STEM professionals.”

Principal investigators, institutions and proposals participating in the UCRO program include:

  • Siamak Farhad, University of Akron: “In-orbit and in-situ spacecraft inspection and repair”

  • Anouck Girard, University of Michigan: “Safe learning in space for proximity and rendezvous operations”

  • Brandon Jones, University of Texas at Austin: “Theoretical Information Sensing and Tracking for Rapid IOD”
  • Michael Kinzel, University of Central Florida: “Industrial and Aerodynamic Optimization for Agile Rocket Cargo Delivery”

  • Marek Osiński, University of New Mexico: “Nanoparticle designer for quantum location and electric field sensing”

  • Anthony Torres, Texas State University: “Understanding the effect of vibrations on ZBLAN crystallization”

  • Miguel Velez-Reyes, University of Texas at El Paso: “Innovative analysis of temporal spectral signatures using machine learning for ground-based remote sensing of unresolved resident space objects”