Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

National Center for Space Exploration and Research

The mission of the National Center for Space Exploration and Research is to lead a national effort to increase both the number and quality of microgravity researchers. The Center will perform the critical-path research in microgravity fluids and combustion sciences necessary to support the long-term human presence, development and exploration of space as well as to enhance life on Earth by applying the resultant advances in human knowledge and technology acquired through experimentation in the space environment. The Center is dedicated to research in fluid mechanics, heat transfer and combustion in microgravity, such as that found on Shuttle flights, the International Space Station, and long-duration space flight. This activity is directed toward a fundamental understanding of thermocapillary flow, double-diffusive convection, convection in the float-zone crystal growth process, various types of combustion phenomena and spacecraft fire safety.