The University of Arizona is one of the world’s leading research universities for space science and exploration. The University of Arizona Space Institute (UASI) will coordinate and expand the university’s activities in alignment with the university’s strategic plan’s Grand Challenges, Pillar II, Initiative 2.1A. This charter reflects the efforts of faculty and staff from across the university’s space science community and heavily leverages the findings presented in A Proposal for the University of Arizona Space Institute, by Roger Yelle and George Rieke, July 17, 2019.
The UASI is a driving force in advancing the University of Arizona’s role as the world’s leading university for space science, human and robotic exploration, astrobiology/exoplanets research, space situational awareness research, and planetary defense.
The UASI weaves a thread through all it pursues, bringing to bear the exceptional attributes of the UA through research and the formulation, proposal development and management of major projects and space missions, advancing our understanding of the Earth and Universe.
The Case for the UASI
The University of Arizona (UArizona) has an unparalleled history of involvement in space missions dating to the founding of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the first Ranger missions to the Moon. The UA was the first university to manage a planetary lander mission (Phoenix) and to lead a New Frontiers mission (OSIRIS-REx). UA scientists and engineers have developed, supplied, and operated a significant number of instruments to NASA Planetary flagship missions (Pioneer 10, Voyager, Cassini, and numerous Mars missions) and NASA Astrophysics flagship missions (NICMOS for HST, MIPS for Spitzer, and NIRCam for JWST), as well as ground-based telescopes that significantly expanded our understanding of the universe (Large Binocular Telescope, the Magellan Telescope, the Multiple Mirror Telescope, Spacewatch, and the Catalina Sky Survey).
However, over the last ~10 years UArizona has been out-spent and out-organized by its competitors within academia, industry, and the federal government. The competition has developed strong infrastructures for proposal development and project management, while the UA has simply maintained its previously successful approach. The competitive landscape has changed and the UA needs to make the evolutionary leap that is the UASI.