BY Nubia Reyna | THE RIDER
UTRGV physics doctoral student Louis Dartez gave a presentation on STARGATE and the company the program has created, SG Surveillance, as well building a space exploration “corridor” between Brownsville and Houston.
“STARGATE has a mandate from the state to produce and help companies nurture this culture down here, meaning that if you have a company or idea, then by the end of next year … once that building is up, then STARGATE will have everything in place to help you come through the incubator system and get you [on] your feet,” Dartez told an audience of about more than two dozen people who gathered last Tuesday at Code RGV in the WorkPub in Brownsville.
The Spacecraft Tracking and Astronomical Research into Giga-hertz Astrophysical Transient Emission, or STARGATE, is a public/private partnership between SpaceX and the Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy (CARA) at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,
On July 24, the partnership created SG Surveillance, a company founded by two UTRGV graduate students and one undergraduate, along with more than five faculty members.
Dartez said the company designs and develops technologies to be able to collect data and monitor areas where infrastructure that would usually be used for these services does not exist.
“We already are incorporated and right now we are looking for funding,” said Dartez, who is the chief operations officer of SG Surveillance. “We are getting funding from different agencies.”
In November, founders will present the company to the city of Brownsville.
“This is exactly what the city of Brownsville needs to be able to stimulate and nurture the startup culture that we are all so excited about,” he said.
STARGATE’s idea is to open a corridor between Brownsville and Houston.
“The Houston Technology Center is going to have an office down here in Brownsville helping the startup culture and the Rio Grande Valley get [on] their feet, especially if your startup has anything to do with space exploration or technology that can be transportable to those fields,” he said.
STARGATE will be housed in a large laboratory and incubator building 75 feet from the command control center of SpaceX at Boca Chica Beach.
“In there, we will have Google offices, NASA offices, and an office for the Houston Technology Center,” he said.
Fredrick Jenet, director and creator of STARGATE, said SG Surveillance is going to promote the concept of entrepreneurship, specifically entrepreneurship in the new space sector.
“Our main purpose is to get people thinking about developing technologies for space,” Jenet said.
He also said that STARGATE students are involved as high-level executives in SG Surveillance.
“We have a chief operating officer, chief financial officer, and the chief technical officer of the new company, so they are now developing the business plan and the business model,” he said.
Jenet hopes the company inspires many more students in the region to also create companies and work with them in this new space initiative.
In related news, SpaceX founder, CEO and lead designer Elon Musk will discuss “the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars,” according to the SpaceX website. The presentation will be live-streamed between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at spacex.com/webcast.