Posted: 3/31/22

TAMIU, Expanding Frontiers Enter New MOA Eyeing Commercial Space Exploration



A new agreement between Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and Expanding Frontiers, a Texas non-profit focused on the growth of a state and national ecosystem for commercial space exploration, will help outline a program for collaborative research and educational programs, data sharing, and data analysis.

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz and TAMIU’s Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development (TCBEED) and Office of Global Initiatives met with Dr. Frederick Jenet, Expanding Frontiers founder and executive director, this week to sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to drive the initiative.

Dr. Arenaz said the MOA will help guide new opportunities for TAMIU and its students.

The Agreement will guide collaborative exchanges in research and data analysis, joint educational programs, community-related programs, student internship opportunities, and the organization of conferences and symposia.

“TAMIU students will have the opportunity to participate in Expanding Frontiers programs, including Space Coders, a network of developers experienced in writing code in various programming languages, with special emphasis on complex simulations, data visualization, analysis functions, software, and mobile apps. An entrepreneur in residence apprenticeship program, which aims to attract and prepare aspiring entrepreneurs in South Texas to launch startups in the space, energy, and technology industries, is also possible,” Dr. Arenaz explained.

Dr. Daniel Covarrubias, TCBEED director, said that additional initiatives focused on space commercialization are forthcoming.

“We see this as a remarkable opportunity for our University and the South Texas region. TAMIU students will have access to participate and develop ideas in a growing space commercialization innovation ecosystem,” Dr. Covarrubias said.

María Eugenia Calderon-Porter, assistant vice president of the Office of Global Initiatives, concurred.

“The TAMIU Office of Global Initiatives, in collaboration with Expanding Frontiers and TCBEED, will develop International Executive Seminars focused on space commercialization and ecosystems,” Calderon-Porter said.

Expanding Frontiers founder Dr. Jenet is an entrepreneur, researcher, and innovative educator, and founder of the Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s first center of excellence, as well as STARGATE, a New Space technology development program with facilities at the Boca Chica Launch Complex in South Texas. 

He is also the founder of Rockets and Rigs, an academic/industry/government collaboration working to solve common problems and challenges in both the space development and energy sectors. 

Jenet graduated from MIT with an S.B. in Physics in 1993 and obtained his Ph.D. in Physics from Caltech in 2001. He was a senior research scientist at Schlumberger Doll research and a postdoctoral scholar at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.a Postdoctoral Scholar at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

For additional information, visit the Center online at texascenter.tamiu.edu, email Dr. Covarrubias at  dcova@tamiu.edu , call 956.326.2520, or visit offices located at TAMIU in Anthony J. and Georgia A. Pellegrino Hall, room 216.

Pellegrino Hall, room 216.

MOA Signing with TAMIU
Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU president and Dr. Frederick Jenet, Expanding Frontiers executive director, affirm a completed MOA for collaborations on an ecosystem for commercial space exploration.  They are joined by  María Eugenia Calderon-Porter, assistant vice president of the Office of Global Initiatives, and Dr. Daniel Covarrubias, director, Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development.