UND will have another space official visiting campus this week, the fourth in 13 months.
U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., will host the director of the Space Development Agency, Derek Tournear, at UND on Wednesday, Oct. 14, for a visit to the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and a discussion with UND President Andrew Armacost and other university officials
The event is another in a series of visits from high-level federal officials who lead the country’s space programs.
Visitors to UND over the past 13 months have included NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, U.S. Space Command commander Gen. James Dickinson and Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Armacost previously told the Herald that he hopes to one day have satellites designed and controlled from Grand Forks. It’s a “vision” that would build on UND’s space study program as well as UND’s work on autonomous systems.
Armacost said there are also opportunities for growth in UND’s data science and cybersecurity programs, which could help with national security issues the country may face in the future.
The Space Development Agency, established in March 2019, is an independent federal agency that operates under the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering.
“SDA will develop and field new military space capabilities to ensure the United States' technological and military advantage in space,” according to the organization’s website.
The Space Development Agency is scheduled to officially become part of the Space Force in 2022.