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University of Tennessee Space Institute – Huntsville

The Huntsville Research Center is the University of Tennessee’s first out-of-state research office. Its goal is to connect federal agencies and industry leaders with the university’s researchers and capabilities in order to solve complex aerospace and defense challenges. Four key focus areas for the center include:

  • research and development
  • technology transfer
  • education
  • workforce development


advanced materials in buckets

Advanced Manufacturing

UT is focused on improving hybrid and soft materials and fabrication for novel functionality and sustainable processing, involving research and development at scales ranging in scope from nano-level to large-area production. Its research and development is conducted at a technology readiness level 1-6 and can work with partners to efficiently build and test prototypes.

College projects involving the development of these materials directly impacts everything from energy generation to vehicular design and from health care to aerospace technologies.

Power Grid lab with CURENT

Energy Sciences

Finding sustainable solutions to the world’s energy needs has become one of the most important problems facing our society. Researchers at UT are:

  • pioneering technologies for resilient and sustainable power grids to improve power grid performance;
  • developing novel catalytic processes for biomatter to create clean, sustainable biofuels and biodegradable plastics;
  • creating novel, smart devices for microgrids and next-gen power electronics;
  • and advancing technologies and materials for energy conversion and storage.

UT researchers are working collaboratively with campus peers, industry partners, national labs, and federal agencies to find solutions to how to sustainably power the future.

Wind tunnel


Hypersonics is currently a top strategic priority for our nation. Research being conducted at UT is providing advanced instrumentation and materials analysis as well as the tools needed for integrated flight system development.

UT’s researchers can help you in early-stage testing and diagnostics. UTSI’s facilities are designed to bridge the gap between university research and a national facility’s testing and diagnostics capabilities like those found at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex. Some of UTSI’s facilities include:

Student working in lab with laser

Laser Applications

Researchers at UTSI are using advanced laser applications for diagnostics and materials processing. Their goal is to advance spectroscopy and materials synthesis through education, innovation, and service. Some of their areas of focus include:

  • Combustion systems and jet engine/space propulsion systems development
  • Laser materials processing
  • Ground-based (simulated) aerospace testing
  • Electro-optics, non-linear optics, quantum optics,
  • Molecular spectroscopy,
  • Laser induced assisted chemical reactions. 

UTSI’s Center for Laser Application supports multidisciplinary teams who work with industry, academic, and government agency partners. Their capabilities are unique for both the state and the nation and prove critical for many industrial, defense, and basic science application.

Mandrus working with materials in lab

Material Science

Researchers in material science are on the forefront of discovery and application of new materials.  With interdisciplinary teams from UTSI and other UT campuses, our material science experts focus on developing stronger and smarter materials in the following areas:

  • Composites
    • Carbon/Carbon Ceramic
    • Metallurgy
    • Polymer Science
Nasa NX-3 Aircraft


Through the efforts of UT researchers, advancements are being made in advancing sustainable flight, understanding new combustion flows and systems, and understanding the use of new propulsion technologies in space flight amongst many other areas of research.

UT faculty have access to state-of-the-art facilities currently being used to solve the problems associated with jet and nuclear space propulsion. Some of their research areas include:

  • Clean combustion technologies
  • Design of CO2-free aircraft equipment
  • Compressible and high-temperature fluid dynamics
  • Computational and experimental diagnostic techniques
  • Modeling and testing of electric propulsion devices
  • Space radiation transport and shielding
  • Nuclear interactions of cosmic radiation with matter and its implications for space-radiation exposure and shielding