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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

New head of aerospace department creates satellite space program

Aggie engineers may soon embark on a project to send a student-built satellite into space under the space program of Helen Reed, the new head of Department of Aerospace Engineering of Texas A&M.
The satellite program, AggieSAT, is scheduled to begin in January. A satellite will be designed and constructed by students. Once complete, it will be launched into space and be traced by students.
AggieSAT is based the ASU SAT program of Arizona State University, where Reed was professor and associate director of the ASU NASA Space Grant Program. Reed crated the ASU space program in 1993, which now encompasses several student-built satellites launches and space vehicle projects, including the award-winning Moon Devil buggy.
Reed also plans to bring another satellite project to A&M. A satellite designed to measure the magnetic field of Mars, called MIMIC, is a multi-institutional collaboration that is scheduled for launch in 2011. Reed hopes to make A&M the core institute for the project.
Reed said hands-on experiences are essential to supplement classroom knowledge, and hopes to create a space program that will accomplish this purpose. “(Real life experiences) are very important,” Reed said. “The curriculum already features hands-on designs, and the projects compliment the programs.”
A space program can also generate interest among perspective students.
“When I went to University of Texas to look, I was impressed with the satellite project.,” said freshman aerospace engineering major Brian Eisenbeis. “I was asking A&M if they had something like that, but they didn’t know anything about it, and that was one bad thing about A&M.”
Reed hopes to improve the Department of Aerospace Engineering through the space program and wants it to achieve national status.
“We have a nationally ranked Aerospace Engineering Department which continues to make its mark,” said G. Kemble Bennett, Dean of the Look College of Engineering. “Dr. Reed is the right person at the right time to lead us to new heights. There is no question that this department will become a top five department in the nation.”
Reed indicates that space exploration and aerospace designs will continue to be vital in the future.
“Space exploration has major cultural and economic impacts,” Reed said.

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