The Lunar Caves Analog Test Sites (LCATS) program utilizes science investigations, space exploration mission operations, technology development, and habitability system architectures for Space-STEM learning performance within a program environment which engages a pipeline of motivated middle and high school students from the San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (SA PREP) to assist aerospace professionals solve real-world space exploration technology development challenges.
Project partners include:
- WEX Foundation - lead organization
- The University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for P-20 Initiatives
- Southwest Research Institute
- Scobee Challenger Education Center
- Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering
- Steuck & Associates
- International collaborating organizations from South Korea and Italy
LCATS goals include preparing and encouraging underrepresented minorities, female and economically disadvantaged students to pursue higher education and careers in human space exploration. The LCATS project works within the framework of an actual international commercial lunar site development program, known as LEAP2 (for Lunar Ecosystem and Architectural Prototype), which is developing technologies for exploration and development of a specific lunar site known as the Marius Hills Skylight believed to be the entrance to lunar lava tube cave.
Project components include Middle and High School student workshops and field experiences extending over a four year period with annual simulated missions related to lunar exploration and habitation focusing on lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU).