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Texas State primed for NASA projects following BoR contract approval

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
May 23, 2014

The Texas State University System Board of Regents has approved a multi-million dollar contract between Texas State University and Jacobs Engineering to collaborate on advanced engineering and science work for NASA.

The board, meeting May 23 on the campus of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, approved the $5 million contract which will run through April 2018. Options in the contract could increase the value to $9 million and extend it through 2022.

"The ability for Texas State University students to work with Jacobs Engineering on NASA JSC projects provides a unique learning environment," said Bill Covington, associate vice president for research and federal relations. "It also affords Texas State faculty the opportunity to be engaged in cutting edge, applied research. Texas State is looking forward to developing a long lasting, mutually beneficial working relationship with Jacobs Engineering."

Jacobs is the prime contractor to NASA and the Johnson Space Center on the "JSC Engineering, Technology and Science (JETS)" contract. JETS is a $1.9 billion, nine-year contract between Jacobs and NASA for engineering services related to the JSC mission.  Texas State and Jacobs will work together to develop task orders and statements of work related to specific research and development needs required under the JETS prime contract.

"Texas State is proud to partner with Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and NASA’s JSC for a variety of projects, including ones in support of the International Space Station and manned missions to Mars," said Gene Bourgeois, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

As part of the relationship, Jacobs will provide the funding for Texas State to employ a full-time engineering staff on-site in Houston. The university has already begun discussions with Jacobs Engineering about the possibility of establishing a presence on the Texas State campus or in STAR Park, as well as the potential for funding and other commercialization activities with startup companies in STAR Park.

"The Ingram School of Engineering is very excited to work with Jacobs Engineering in support of the JETS contract for NASA's Johnson Space Center," said Stan McClellan, director of the Ingram School of Engineering. "This long-term relationship between Texas State University and Jacobs Engineering will produce tremendous opportunities for students and faculty from all areas of the Texas State community to participate in interesting, useful, and far-reaching projects."

The technological capabilities found in the R.F. Mitte Building on campus--which houses the Ingram School of Engineering, the Department of Engineering Technology, the Department of Physics and the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization Program will enable Texas State to support ongoing, design-specific development activities for NASA under the contract. The presence of advanced manufacturing facilities, including high-precision machining, rapid prototyping and composite structures labs as well as semiconductor manufacturing, metallurgy and foundry capabilities, were a major attraction for Jacobs.

"The College of Science and Engineering welcomes the beginning of Texas State University’s partnership with Jacobs Engineering," said Stephen Seidman, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. "This relationship will provide opportunities to our students and faculty that will greatly enrich education and research in engineering at Texas State."

The JETS contract also requires Jacobs to participate in an array of education and other projects, which will potentially involve various departments across campus. In particular, Jacobs has expressed strong interest in projects related to water, which could tap into the expertise of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

Jacobs Engineering's JETS contract supports the Johnson Space Center's Engineering Directorate and Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate. Services include engineering design and development sustaining engineering, engineering analysis and assessment, technology development, test services, laboratory and facility operation and maintenance, planetary mission research, physical science research and astromaterial curation. NASA programs and offices that will be supported by the contract include the International Space Station, Orion, Advanced Exploration Systems, the Chief Technologist and Commercial Crew and Cargo and Mars Science Laboratory science research and operations.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents is the governing body for Texas’ oldest university system, which comprises eight institutions: Lamar University; Sam Houston State University; Texas State University; Sul Ross State University; Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College; Lamar Institute of Technology; Lamar State College-Orange; and Lamar State College-Port Arthur.