JACKSON, S.C. – Clemson civil engineers are focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The team, which includes three former NASA astronauts and one current astronaut, is led by the director of civil engineering for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Richard Lutz.
Its a group of former NASA and state of South Carolina engineers, who are interested in the space program and the way it impacts the state of the country, he said.
They also have a great interest in the state’s role in science and technology, he added.
“The challenge of the program is that it is really just about building and testing and then putting it into place,” Lutz said.
“It’s not about producing a product.”
The new team, headed by Clemson’s Dr. Paul Janssens, is focused on two big themes.
The first is building systems that can detect, track and measure ocean currents, including one that will measure and measure temperature.
The second is making sure the systems work better.
That means learning how to better manage and manage a complex system, he explained.
The goal is to build systems that work better for the people who use them, not just the system itself, he noted.
The Clemson Civil Engineering program, which began in 2010, is one of the top programs in the country and is one reason the state is ranked in the top 10 in the nation for NASA spending, according to NASA’s Space Act Agreement Report.
It has a large, diverse and well-funded team, according a report by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Its also the only program in the United States that does not use commercial spaceflight to build its infrastructure.
The program started with four students who studied at the University of South Florida, which has a history of engineering programs, said Clemson associate professor of civil and environmental engineering Michael Cawley.
The group of six graduated in 2015.