June 04, 2020

Lawmakers Announce $5M for Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Educational Partnership Agreement with the Air Force Research Laboratory for Rocket and Space Engineering

POMONA, CA—U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (CA-35), Grace Napolitano (CA-32) and Salud Carbajal (CA-24) today announced $5 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (H.R. 1158) to fund an Education Partnership Agreement (EPA) between California Polytechnic State Universities (Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing the Air Force's strategic capabilities in space operations through next generation access to space and maneuverability.

The EPA aligns with the mission of AFRL to pioneer transformative aerospace technologies and accelerate its long-term strategic objectives in key areas such as energy security, energy optimization, reusability, maneuverability, and multi-mission mobility. The funds will be split evenly between Cal Poly's Pomona and San Luis Obispo campuses.

"There's no doubt that critical research performed by Cal Poly Pomona students in the coming years as a result of these funds will help shape space exploration for decades to come," Representative Torres said. "Rocket- and space-focused engineers are crucial for maintaining secure operations to the final frontier. This new partnership ensures Cal Poly Pomona has resources they need to deliver hands-on educational experience to cultivate the leading scientists and engineers of tomorrow."

"Military-educational partnerships enhance our national security capabilities and provide students with hands-on learning opportunities that set them up for successful STEM careers," Rep. Carbajal said. "I am so thankful to my colleagues, Rep. Torres and Rep. Napolitano, for their support and I look forward to seeing the incredible developments the Cal Polys will make in the aerospace field through this partnership with the Air Force."

"As two of our nation's premier applied research institutions, the Cal Polys are driving innovation and educating the next generation of aerospace engineers," Rep. Napolitano said. "I congratulate the students and faculty who will benefit from this new funding, which will further assist the Air Force in research, development, and evaluation of space technologies. I am proud to continue to partner with Congresswoman Torres and Congressman Carbajal in growing this vital partnership between the universities and the Air Force."

"Cal Poly Pomona's Liquid Rocket Lab epitomizes our longstanding commitment to research that is both cutting-edge and relevant as well as our foundational commitment to learning by doing," Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley said. "By supporting this partnership, the Air Force Research Laboratory is fostering a cadre of diverse and gifted students who will surely go on to be the future leaders in aerospace technology. We're very grateful to the AFRL and Congressmembers Torres, Napolitano and Carbajal for their ongoing confidence and support of Cal Poly Pomona and this unique program."

Educational partnerships are formal agreements between a defense laboratory and an educational institution for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing study in scientific disciplines at all levels of education. In establishing EPA's, the Secretary of Defense gives priority to educational institutions serving women, members of minority groups, and other groups of individuals who traditionally underrepresented in engineering and science profession. AFRL has a strong history of successful EPAs in California and throughout the nation, including with Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

At Cal Poly Pomona, the funding will be directed to the Liquid Rocket Lab program to provide a laboratory for rocket design and assembly, and expand recruitment for future generations of STEM students. The funding for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will be directed to the CubeSAT Lab to enable student leaders in small satellite development and to train the next generation of engineers to enter the increasing small satellite industry.