U.S. Space Command Honors Capitol Technology University with AEE Membership

Capitol Technology University is honored to announce that our institution has been selected for full membership with the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM) Academic Engagement Enterprise (AEE) as of Friday, February 24, 2023.

US SPACE COMMAND Colonel Drake with Capitol Tech President Sims
US SPACE COMMAND Colonel Drake with Capitol Tech President Sims


The goal of the AEE is to foster relationships and collaboration between cutting-edge academic institutions and the USSPACECOM through engaging the future workforce, increasing space applied research and innovation, expanding space-focused analytic partnerships, and enriching the strategic dialogue on space. Capitol’s excellence in higher education, dedication to these shared goals, and efforts in expanding our aviation and space program offerings and resources have garnered our recognition by the USSPACECOM with this prestigious membership honor.

U.S. Space Command Logo

On Wednesday, March 1, the university received a visit from USSPACECOM’s Colonel Douglas Drake, PhD, USSF Chief, Training and Education Division, J73 and Mr. Thomas Woodard, Academic Engagement Action Officer. Arriving at our campus in Laurel, MD, they met with Dr. Bradford Sims, President and Dr. Bill Butler, VP of Academic Affairs. In addition, Unmanned and Autonomous Systems major Valerie Kehrer was selected to attend as a representative of the outstanding achievers and future leaders that comprise our student body. Given her academic pursuits and drone research project involvement, which align with areas of interest for USSPACECOM, she was able to provide insight from a student perspective and share her intentions of working with the military after graduation in April 2023. The meeting served as an introduction between leadership and the university as a whole, and facilitated a conversation about current and future exciting opportunities for collaboration.

US SPACE COMMAND Colonel Drake with Capitol Tech Dr. Butler and student Valerie Kehrer
US SPACE COMMAND Colonel Drake with Capitol Tech Dr. Butler and student Valerie Kehrer


“My long-term career objective is to work for the military as a civilian in the field of UAS and cybersecurity in the realm of air, ground, and sea systems,” student Valerie explains. “I thoroughly enjoy working on research projects and the process of idea generation to field testing. Additionally, my previous experiences as an intern with the Air Force and a member of the Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary) have significantly influenced my career path.”

As the space industry continues to evolve quickly, the need for adaptive, skilled professionals entering the workforce is at an all-time high. At the 2023 National Security Space Association Defense and Industry Space Conference, a discussion on dynamic operations in space was presented as a hot topic of interest. Constraints in maneuverability during space missions are becoming more and more imposing, resulting in higher costs, greater risks, and delayed procedures. Further research into fuel economy, architecture, and sustainable space systems are an increasing priority in the field. The need for trained aviation and space professionals only grows with this increasing demand for innovative technicians, researchers, engineers, and leaders in these new areas of industry focus. The AEE, established in 2022, aims to address these initiatives by building relationships with academia in support of research, professional education, training, diverse human talent development and futures capabilities.

“We aim to inspire diverse groups of students to pursue space education, research, and careers throughout the space enterprise,” said Col. Drake, who also expressed that USSPACECOM is “excited to work with the faculty and institution, and looking forward to a long and productive relationship.”

Dr. Sims shared this enthusiasm, stating that “our university is honored to receive recognition from the USSPACECOM, and we see this as a unique opportunity to support our nation and our students through mutual resources and collaboration with these leaders in America’s space industry.”

“Capitol Tech is honored to have been chosen for the Academic Engagement Enterprise (AEE),” Dr. Butler adds. “The university is in a position to assist the U.S. Space Command in its important mission through participation in joint research, access to our cutting-edge centers and labs where mini-satellites and payloads are built and used in space deployments, and our graduates who have distinguished themselves in the space industry as lead engineers.”

Membership benefits for academic institutions that have joined the AEE include receiving defense-level space learning outcomes, competencies, and behaviors that aim to enhance student knowledge, programs, and collaborative research, as well as exclusive event invitations to webinars and symposiums, access to guest speakers, technology integration, and student internships.

“Our partnerships provide a level of networking and opportunities to our students that put them ahead of the competition and in touch with real leaders of the industry,” says Dr. Sims. “This ensures they are skilled and knowledgeable within and beyond the classroom experience, making our students some of the most consistently sought-after graduates in the job marketplace.”

For more information:

Visit the USSPACECOM website  

Visit the Capitol Technology University website

US SPACE COMMAND Colonel Drake and Thomas Woodard with Capitol Tech President Sims and Dr. Butler
US SPACE COMMAND Colonel Drake and Thomas Woodard with Capitol Tech President Sims and Dr. Butler