NASA is leading the future of spaceflight by equipping the next generation of aerospace innovators with modern engineering skills at a new DEDC (Digital Engineering Design Center) located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
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 is accessible to all partners and can be used throughout the development lifecycle.
NASA’s DEDC is operated by the UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) Aerospace Center and will provide immersive, project-based learning and training on state-of-the-art digital engineering toolsets and processes.
NASA engineers and students who enroll in the program will learn and work together on NASA projects related to ISRU (in-situ resource utilization), which can enable astronauts on Artemis missions to leverage resources found on the Moon and Mars. NASA engineers will also provide subject matter expertise to the students in the ISRU discipline area, while professors from UTEP provide instruction on the digital engineering software.
“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. “Collaborations like this one show we are committed to having the most talented, diverse, and motivated engineers that can continue to meet the exploration goals of the agency.”
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.
To commemorate the DEDC Space Act Agreement partnership with UTEP, joint ribbon cutting ceremonies took place at Johnson Space Center and UTEP, with NASA and university leadership in attendance.
The DEDC is part of a collaboration with Johnson’s Engineering Directorate and the Space Technology Mission Directorate. UTEP is also a participant in the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium, which fosters communications and collaborations among academia, industry, and Government in key Lunar Surface Innovation Initiative areas.
By Rebecca Wickes
NASA Johnson Space Center