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United States Department of TransportationUnited States Department of Transportation

Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation (COE CST)

Building the Future of Space Transportation

The FAA Air Transportation Centers of Excellence (COE) program was established by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, PL 101-508, Title IX, Aviation Safety and Capacity Expansion Act. COEs are intended to be multi-year, multi-disciplinary partnerships of academia, industry and government to combine world-class resources that will address current and future challenges for the aviation and aerospace communities, including commercial space transportation. The main goals of every COE include research, training & education, and technology transfer & outreach.

The COE CST is a partnership of academia, industry, and government, developed for the purpose of creating a world-class consortium that will address current and future challenges for commercial space transportation. The new Center will focus on strategic research, education, and training to support commercial space initiatives over the next decade.

The COE CST member universities include:

  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Florida State University
  • New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
  • New Mexico State University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Florida
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

The research and development efforts for the new Centers will include four major research areas:

  • Space Traffic Management & Operations
  • Space Transportation Operations
  • Technologies & Payloads
  • Human Spaceflight
  • Space Transportation Industry Viability

The absolute uniqueness of the program partnerships is the mandatory one-to-one matching requirement for every federal dollar granted to a COE university to establish, operate and conduct research. The matching requirement can be satisfied through direct or in-kind contributions from any non-federal funding source, including industry, universities, or state and local government organizations. COE efforts which are jointly supported provide the U.S. citizens a return on their tax dollars. To date, the COE members have generated more than $312M in matching contributions to offset the research costs incurred by the government organizations.

For more information, please visit the COE CST web site:

Ken Davidian
COE CST Program Lead

Dr. Patricia Watts
FAA National Center of Excellence Program Director

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