Education Program

Text Size

University of Texas El Paso
Research assistants in the Center for Space Exploration Technology Research prepare a microthruster test bed for integration into a vacuum chamber.Research assistants in the Center for Space Exploration Technology Research prepare a microthruster test bed for integration into a vacuum chamber (left to right: Jesus Flores, Andy Gonzales, Chance Garcia, and Carlos Gomes). The test bed allows development and test of microthrusters for use in miniaturized space systems to be tested at ambient pressure and simulated altitude.
› View Larger Image
Center for Space Exploration Technology Research
Period of Award: August 2009 – September 2014


The Center for Space Exploration Technology Research (cSETR) was established at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) to promote research and education in propulsion and energy engineering. The Center, originally established as the Combustion and Propulsion Research Laboratory, is now a University Research Center (URC) through the Group 5 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) URC Cooperative Agreement. The Center actively conducts a wide range of analytical, experimental and computational research in energy and propulsion engineering with a particular interest in green propulsion, in-situ resource utilizations, space structures, clean power generation, solar energy and carbon dioxide sequestrations. Current work includes research for NASA, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, and the Department of Defense in 11,000 sq ft of lab space.


To establish a minority university center of excellence in advanced energy and aerospace research, cSETR fosters strategic partnerships and educates the aerospace and energy workforce with 21st Century demographics. Achieving this vision through creating fundamental knowledge and capabilities for space exploration and energy engineering, cSETR will utilize multidisciplinary science and engineering teams partnered with NASA Centers, the Department of Energy (DOE) Laboratories, the Department of Defense (DOD) agencies, Aerospace and Defense industries, and academic institutions.


Established as the Texas State School of Mines in 1914, the University of Texas in El Paso (UTEP) has become the only research-intensive university that serves a Hispanic-majority student population (Carnegie Classification of Higher Education Institutions). The Center’s activities are aligned with the University strategies of creating a broad range of educational opportunities for residents in the El Paso region. Now serving a student body in excess of 22,000, UTEP is focused on increasing access to future students, advancing the capacity of higher education programs for current students, and becoming a national model in educating the next generation work force. The Center creates opportunities to link and integrate UTEP’s research efforts in aerospace and energy into a broad, interdisciplinary research venture.

The cSETR goals are to:
  • Advance research in aerospace and energy engineering
  • Inspire, excite, and engage undergraduate and graduate students, especially those from underrepresented groups, in the study of aerospace and energy engineering; and
  • Build a sustainable research capacity and infrastructure at UTEP in aerospace and energy engineering
Key Research Areas

The Center’s key areas of concentration include:
  • Advanced Propulsion
  • In-situ Resource Utilization
  • Aerospace Structures
  • Energy Engineering
Principal Investigator: Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D
Professor, Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Center for Space Exploration Technology Research (cSETR)
The University of Texas at El Paso
ENG. M-305, El Paso, Texas 79968
Tel: (915) 747-7398, E-mail: