Comet Calendar


In this talk an overview will be given of the Aerospace Center at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) – this includes a brief discussion of the Center’s history, and growth to an overview of several of the current projects, both fundamental and applied, that are ongoing as well as how the Center is helping drive several technology and workforce gaps needed for the envisioned space-ecosystem. 

The Center started over 10 years ago as a NASA center focused on the development of Liquid Oxygen Liquid Methane (LOX/CH4) propulsion systems with two missions: 1) advancing characterization of throttleable LOX/CH4 propulsion systems and 2) development of the next generation of engineers and scientists for the space industry, both commercial and government.  Over the years the Center has evolved to include over 200+ students researchers, 8 associated faculty, and several staff engineers, with satellite centers in Hunstville Alabama, Houston Texas, and Youngstown Ohio, as well as El Paso Texas, with large-scale research and project developments in areas that include propulsion systems, lander development, in-space resource utilization, thermal management and controls of hypersonic vehicles, satellite systems, and autonomous control and situational management of space systems as well as working digital engineering design methodologies.  We will give an overview of the activities in these areas as well as a perspective of how the Center has developed an R&D environment that balances industry practices within an academic setting.


Dr. Jack Chessa is currently a Professor and Chair in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering as well as Executive Director of the Aerospace Center.  His background is primarily in the area of numerical methods development including work in developing enriched finite element methods, multiscale materials modeling approaches for high-temperature materials as well as the advancement of design optimization approaches including topological methods, generative design methods, and inclusion of machine learning approaches in the design process.  In addition to these efforts, Dr. Chessa has spearheaded the development of two LOX/CH4 rocket engine demonstration vehicles, Daedalus and Janus as well as the development of the cryogenic testing facilities at the Aerospace Center’s Fabens Texas campus.

Before coming to UTEP, Dr. Chessa received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University, He also holds an M.S. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Union College. In addition to his academic efforts, Dr. Chessa has worked as a consultant in the semiconductor, product development, and aerospace industries.


ECSS 2.415

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science


Jennifer Klunk

UTD strives to create inclusive and accessible events in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If you require an accommodation to fully participate in this event, please contact the event coordinator (listed above) at least 10 business days prior to the event. If you have any additional questions, please email and the AccessAbility Resource Center at

Event Publishing

Add an Event 

Submit your own event using our simple event submission form. It only takes a minute!

Event Publisher Training 

Learn best practices to maximize the calendar’s latest features.

Make a Calendar Feed 

Embed events anywhere on the web with our widget builder.

Explore Comet Calendar

Events by Email

Get a personalized list of events in your inbox with our digest emailer.

30-second Survey

Share your feedback and suggestions on how we can improve the Comet Calendar.

The University of Texas at Dallas