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Addition of Two South Korean Research Institutes to the WEX Foundation's LCATS Program Provides Students International Outreach for Out-of-School Space-STEM Education  
San Antonio, TX - January 17, 2017 -  WEX Foundation has added two new team members to its "Lunar Caves Analog Test Sites (LCATS)" space-STEM education program funded by NASA. The Korean Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Construction (KICT), and the International Space Exploration Research Institute (ISERI) at Hanyang University, both located in Seoul, South Korea, have agreed to provide collaborative support for LCATS student STEM projects.

Sam Ximenes and Dr. Tai Sik Lee discussing their vision for a global space-STEM education network.
Dr. Tai Sik Lee, President of KICT and Professor of Civil Engineering at Hanyang University said, "we are pleased to become an official member of the LCATS team helping develop student project education experiences for space exploration". Sam Ximenes, Board Chair of the WEX Foundation and Principal Investigator for the LCATS program said, "the addition of KICT and ISERI to our team gives our students the opportunity to experience first-hand the value of international cooperation with their LCATS student project development activities". LCATS is a Space-STEM education program being developed by an industry and academia team led by the WEX Foundation with $1.24M in grant funding from NASA. The program provides real-world context for students to assist aerospace professionals with solving actual space exploration technology development challenges. LCATS operates within the framework of an actual commercial lunar site development program known as LEAP2, where ongoing science investigations, space exploration mission operations and technology development for habitability system architectures are being piloted. Participating students will have an opportunity over a three year project participation period to get world-class instruction and experience as they learn scientific techniques and planning that go into a long-term space mission.

2-Day meeting held between KICT, ISERI, and WEX.
KICT and Hanyang University possess expertise in civil engineering for planetary construction. The collaboration agreement will provide LCATS students access to research facilities and subject matter experts for student project learning about building on the moon with approaches such as In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) for construction applications. (ISRU refers to the production of useful materials from the resources available at a given location, in this case lunar resources for planetary construction). Facilities such as KICT's Extreme Construction Research Center will be available to students, where one of the worlds largest vacuum chambers will be housed. Known as a "Dirty" Vacuum Chamber because it contains simulated lunar regolith (soil) within the chamber for testing excavation methods and 3D printed habitat technologies, robotics, and drilling. With implementation of the LCATS model in Korea, a student exchange program will be initiated and KICT/Hanyang University (ISERI) will collaborate with student curriculum development. 

Space Architect Sam Ximenes and Space Civil Engineer Dr. Tai Sik Lee reach milestone agreement for LCATS global space-STEM education. 
Current team members, comprised of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (SA PREP), the Challenger Learning Center/Scobee Education Center, the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Education (TAME), Steuck & Associates, and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) welcome KICT and Hanyang University (ISERI) to the team for collaboration in our efforts to provide experiments to inspire students develop solutions for commercial exploration and settlement of the moon. The opportunity to establish a network model in which students are given hands-on STEM education through LCATS and exposure to international partners through project-based learning based on space technology development and commercialization has numerous benefits. These activities are already culminating in entrepreneurial business opportunities and leveraging identified international industry partnerships. Using the LCATS framework as a unifying mission objective, future aerospace professionals coming out of the program will be motivated to engage in innovative activities to design and shape the next generation of planetary and space exploration using novel and emerging technologies.
About KICT
The Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) is a science & technology government-sponsored research institute that opened in 1983 to solve national and social issues to support government policies for land, infrastructure, and construction fields. With an equivalent US$130M in annual funding, KICT is responding to the convergence of construction technologies and other advanced technologies with the additional responsibility of expanding its research scope to space utilization and development of technologies for space exploration. KICT is located in Goyang, Republic of Korea.
About Hanyang University
As a private institution, Hanyang University is one of the premier institutions of higher education in the Republic of Korea.  The International Space Exploration Research Institute (ISERI) at Hanyang University specializes in Automation and Robotics in Construction, Construction Engineering and Space Construction. The lab has performed more than 115 research projects and approximately US$10M in research funds to date. By introducing concepts in construction management, automation in construction, extreme engineering and lunar construction, this lab has established itself as a gateway into the world of space exploration for Korea.
About WEX Foundation

WEX Foundation, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in San Antonio, TX. It advances student education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects by integrating space exploration technology with project-based learning, with the ultimate goal of creating a robust space technology workforce that will enable people to live on other planets. Follow us on Facebook.