This year’s graduate admissions program at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics saw a record number of applications, “most of whom desire to work in the space business,” according to Daniel Hastings, who works as a professor and head of the department. Hastings stated on September 28 at Space Sector Market Conference, which was held in Cambridge, Mass., that NASA’s exploration exploits and SpaceX’s high-profile space missions are igniting interest at colleges and institutions.

“I can’t tell you how numerous students think flying an aircraft on Mars is just amazing. They want to do stuff like that, and that appeals to a large number of students,” Hastings explained. In the space science and technology, he continued, “really amazing things are happening.”

According to Hastings, students pursuing space employment should develop technical abilities, but they should also begin thinking entrepreneurially about the space economy. According to Hastings, the department of aeronautics and astronautics recently launched an initiative with MIT Sloan School of Management in which students can receive a “certificate in innovation.”

“We’ll have a $10K contest and provide cash prizes to individuals who will come up with the greatest space business ideas,” he stated. “These are the stuff we’re doing to foster their entrepreneurial spirit, as well as providing them with technical assistance.”

Hastings recently welcomed the US Space Force’s chief of space operations, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, for the signing of cooperation between the Space Force and MIT to find research and education opportunities. Underneath the University Partnership Program, the Space Force has struck various agreements with academic institutions, including one with MIT. For students and ROTC cadets, the Space Force establishes scholarship, internship, and mentorship opportunities.

At a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing event at the University of North Dakota on August 9, the US Space Force unveiled its University Partnership Program. General John W. “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, accompanied Andy Armacost, the UND President, on campus to seal the MOU.

“The Space Force confronts some of the most difficult technical, science, and technological challenges,” Raymond added. “Space is difficult. We need the best and brightest minds in the country to help us solve these problems. That is why we created University Partnership Program to help universities around the country unleash their creativity. I’m thrilled to welcome the University of North Dakota as the first official UPP member today, with 10 more schools expected to join in the following months.”

The following ten universities are expected to join the cooperation in fiscal year 21:

Howard University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

The University of Colorado System (beginning with Boulder and Colorado Springs)

University of Southern California

Georgia Institute of Technology

Purdue University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The University of Texas System (beginning with Austin and El Paso)

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