TULLAHOMA, TN – A group from The University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service (IPS), toured the University of Tennessee Space Institute, (UTSI) research facilities on Tuesday February 19, 2020.  IPS works statewide to provide university expertise for communities and work places by consulting daily with government, law enforcement and industry leaders. For nearly 60 years, IPS agencies have led the university’s outreach efforts, extending the university to all communities in the state.  IPS plays a key role in the public service component of the University of Tennessee by assisting city and county governments with training law enforcement personnel on local, regional and national levels. With offices in every region of the state, IPS also helps Tennessee manufacturers reduce costs thus increasing revenue. 

The start of the tour was an introduction and overview of the Space Institute from UTSI’s Executive Director, Dr. Mark Whorton.  The group toured the Center for Laser Applications, (CLA) clean room with Brian Canfield, Research Professor.  This room houses sensitive lasers and equipment that cannot be exposed to dust particles or any contaminates.  Next on the tour was the Tennessee Aerothermodynamics Laboratory, (TALon) with Dr. Mark Gragston, Research Professor in the HORIZON Department. Dr. Gragston discussed ongoing research in hypersonics and the construction of the new Mach 7 wind tunnel.  Last, they toured the Propulsion Research Lab housing the Mach 2 wind tunnel.

Dr. Mark Whorton, Executive Director of UTSI, discussing current and future vision for the Space Institute.

Dr. Mark Gragston explaining research being conducted in the TALon Lab.


Mr. Joel Davenport, Dr. Mark Gragston, and Graduate Research Assistant, Jack Couburn welcomes the group in the TALon Lab.