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University of Arizona opens new research facility dedicated to space science

The University of Arizona recently opened its latest facility known as the Applied Research Building. Standing at three stories tall, the facility is expected to continue UA’s research in space science and related fields. With 89,000 square feet, the structure also houses a massive thermal vacuum chamber.

Tim Swindle is the director of the university’s Arizona Space Institute.

“We have everything from high bays for putting together spacecraft and balloon payloads to clean rooms for building sensors to a mission control center,” he said.

Among those who will use the facility are faculty, students and staff. According to Swindle, one group that has already moved in builds sensors intended for technology such as telescopes and spacecraft.

The control center is dedicated to observing space balloon missions.

Elizabeth Cantwell is the university’s senior vice president for research and innovation.

“The building has a space systems operations center, meaning we’ll be able to actually be the operations center for missions that we have oversight of, and the first ones you’ll see us operate out of our missions operations center are stratospheric balloon missions," she said.

Cantwell said the idea is to conduct research that has real-life applications.

Ignacio Ventura is a reporter for KJZZ. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in news media and society.