The Southwest Research Institute’s space science and engineering division has been restructured to create two new technical divisions, the institute announced this week.
Robin Canup, an astrophysicist, will lead the new Solar System Science Division at Boulder. Michael McLelland, Executive Director of the Space Systems Branch, will lead the new Space Systems Division at the Southwest Research Institute’s main campus in San Antonio.
“(This restructuring) will allow us to further develop our own business identity and further specialize in the businesses pursued by each group,” Canup said.
The Canup division will include three departments: Space Studies, Space Operations, and Solar and Heliospheric Physics. It will focus on planetary science, solar physics, and space mission development and operations. The Boulder Institute has worked on a variety of missions, including the New Horizons mission and the Lucy mission which visits Trojan asteroids over a 12-year period.
“We research virtually every object in the solar system,” Canup said.
McLelland’s Texas division will focus on developing next-generation space observation missions and “enabling technologies to support basic space science research, national security, and commercial applications,” according to a statement from the Institute. institute. The department will have four departments: Earth, Oceans and Space; space avionics; Space engineering; and spacecraft development.
“The space brought me to the institute and the opportunity to learn from top experts and build something new for each program kept me engaged,” McLelland said in a statement.
These two new divisions will be overseen by James L. Burch, vice president of the division of space sciences, who will become the new senior vice president of the organization of the space sector of the institute, encompassing all divisions. Canup and McLelland were promoted to vice president of the space division.
“It’s a very exciting change overall,” Canup said. “It’s the culmination of 25 years of work…becoming our own division is truly the culmination of those successes and hopefully supports future successes as well.”