WV senators announce funding from NASA to WVU for space project

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This illustration made available by SpaceX depicts the company’s Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket during the uncrewed In-Flight Abort Test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. (SpaceX via AP)

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – On August 2, U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $750,000 from NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program to West Virginia University (WVU). The funding will support a project titled, “Adaptive and Scalable Data Compression for Deep Space Data Transfer Applications using Deep Learning.

“This is huge. This is a very prestigious award. Not just for me and my research lab, but for the college, for the department, as well as for the university,” said Dr. Piyush M. Mehta, assistant professor of space systems at West Virginia University. “The competitions that NASA uses to make these awards are highly competitive. We at WVU have done well in the competition over the last few years and I am happy that we are able to continue the tradition of WVU leading at least West Virginia and perhaps also the rest of the country in developing some of the novel technologies that are used by NASA for space exploration.” 

“WVU and our other higher education institutions in West Virginia do an excellent job creating opportunities for our students and professors,” Senator Capito said. “I’m thrilled to see this funding heading to our state to support collaborative efforts on the part of West Virginia education professionals and students to develop solutions that support student success. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to advocate for resources that help prepare our state and its youth for the future.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

The project researchers compress data from NASA space crafts that are sent into deep space. Their goal is to find new algorithms to compress the data automatically before it’s sent back to earth.  

“From Katherine Johnson to Homer Hickam, West Virginians have played an important role in NASA’s achievements. Many West Virginians continue this proud tradition by working on NASA programs today,” Senator Manchin said. “I am thrilled NASA is investing in research at West Virginia University, and our state will continue to contribute to space exploration. I look forward to strengthening West Virginia’s partnership with NASA through additional investments in our state and institutions.”

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

The project is set to start in the fall and will last three years.

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