Space Force Partners with ‘Cradle of Astronauts’ Purdue University

The U.S. Space Force (USSF) is partnering with Purdue University, known as the "Cradle of Astronauts" for the number of spacefaring graduates it produces. The partnership is through the Space Force's University Partnership Program (UPP) which will help the force access university research, innovation and talent development.

“For quite some time, Purdue’s involvement in space has expanded far beyond our distinguished history of astronauts,” Purdue's president, Mitch Daniels, said. “Our partnership with the Space Force provides yet another example of our commitment to space exploration and national security.”

Daniels signed a memorandum of agreement with Gen. David D. “DT” Thompson, USSF vice chief of space operations and also a Purdue alumni, having received his master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the university in 1989.

“As someone who has personally benefited from the caliber of education Purdue provides, I am excited for the next generation of Guardians who will expand their knowledge and expertise through this partnership,” Thompson said. “Those Guardians must have the STEM foundation that provides a deep understanding of the space domain to conquer the challenges of today, coupled with the confidence and commitment to solve the problems we are certain to encounter in the future.”

Purdue is one of 11 universities initially selected for UPP. The USSF uses criteria that considers whether the school has high quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degree offerings and space-related research laboratories and initiatives; a robust ROTC program; a diverse student population; and degrees and programming designed to support military, veterans and their families in pursuing higher education.