About NewSpace

The space race has evolved. Private sector space exploration and technology efforts are now joining and leading the way.

To advance space access and exploration further, academic and commercial space enterprises must leverage value-added expertise, facilities, and focus to drive the future of this industry. The ASU Space Technology and Science (NewSpace) Initiative is creating academic-commercial partnerships that brings together the most brilliant minds in the space industry sector for an unprecedented collaborative effort. ASU NewSpace leads the integration of academic and commercial space enterprises using ASU’s core strengths in space science, engineering, and education.


We actively explore the NewSpace sector and identify opportunities for collaboration with industry leading companies to. Our combined resources create long-term, lasting progress that drives discovery.


Establishing mutual engineering, business and scientific goals is critical. We lead this process by creating solid relationships between NewSpace companies and ASU’s skilled researchers and staff.


ASU takes the existing strengths and talents of researchers from a wide array of disciplines and leverages them to create innovative research partnerships within the emerging NewSpace sector.


The ASU Space Technology and Science (NewSpace) Initiative establishes and fosters partnerships between ASU and next-generation non-governmental space exploration science and technology companies (the NewSpace sector). We enable the discovery of new research avenues, new partnerships, and new opportunities for student engagement.

How to Work With NewSpace

Without collaboration there is no advancement. We actively seek new and interesting connections that will further the academic-commercial space science partnership. ASU can collaborate on a variety of project types and phases in a vast array of areas:

The Diversity of Space Studies at ASU

ASU is world-renowned for heading up major NASA technology, robotics, and planetary/astronomy science investigations and missions. At ASU, the study of space, the planets and the origins of life involves expertise spread across many academic units, including the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) and the School of Life Sciences (SoLS). ASU has developed a strong multidisciplinary faculty, incorporating astronomers, geologists, engineers, physicists, microbiologists, cell biologists, tissue engineers, immunologists, vaccinologists and other researchers to create a superior research environment.



James Bell, Ph.D.

Director, NewSpace Initiative | Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration

Dr. Jim Bell is a Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and President of the Planetary Society. He received his B.S. in Planetary Science and Aeronautics from Caltech in 1987 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from the University of Hawaii in 1992. Jim spent 3 years as a National Research Council postdoctoral research fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Center from 1992 through 1995.

Jim is an active planetary scientist and has been heavily involved in many NASA robotic space exploration missions, including the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR), Mars Pathfinder, Comet Nucleus Tour, Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Mars Odyssey Orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission. Jim is the lead scientist in charge of the Panoramic camera (Pancam) color, stereoscopic imaging system on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, the Deputy Principal Investigator (P.I.) of the Mastcam camera system on the Curiosity rover, P.I. of the Mastcam-Z cameras on NASA’s upcoming Mars-2020 rover, and Deputy P.I. of NASA’s Psyche mission.

Craig Hardgrove, Ph.D.

Director of Projects, NewSpace Initiative | Assistant Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration

Craig is a planetary scientist whose research focuses primarily on spectroscopy of planetary surfaces. Craig received a Ph.D. in Planetary Science in 2011 from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. in Physics in 2004 from Georgia Tech. Currently he is the Principal Investigator of the Lunar Polar Hydrogen (LunaH) Mapper mission. He has worked both operations and science for the Curiosity, Spirit, and Opportunity rovers, as well as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. For Curiosity, Craig is a representative of Geology-Mineralogy Science Theme Group, and a member of both the color camera and neutron detector teams. Craig has served on review panels for NASA proposals as well as a reviewer for a variety of planetary science journals. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on planetary science and has organized several public outreach activities. Craig has also served as a writing associate for the New York Academy of Sciences and as a consultant for the National Academy of Sciences: Science and Entertainment Exchange, and is actively involved in scientific outreach through podcasting.

Tanya Harrison

Tanya Harrison, Ph.D.

Director of Research, NewSpace Initiative

Tanya is a planetary scientist specializing in martian surface processes and image processing. She holds a Ph.D. in Geology with a Specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration from the University of Western Ontario, a Masters in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wesleyan University, and a B.Sc. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Washington. Tanya has worked in science operations for the Mast Cameras, Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) aboard the Curiosity rover and the Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and is currently a science team collaborator for the Opportunity rover. Previous research areas have included glaciology, spectroscopy of open star clusters and recurring novae, and visible/near-IR spectroscopy. She is also an active science communicator, writing for outlets such as The Planetary Society, Astronomy Magazine, Slate, and The Globe and Mail.

Scott Smas

Program Manager, NewSpace Initiative

Scott Smas, BS Accounting, has over 15 years of experience working in higher education in a wide variety of areas including research advancement, academic business management, program and event management. ASU representative to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Board Member to the Aerospace States Association – Arizona Chapter.

Contact Info

781 E. Terrace Road
Room 632
Tempe, AZ 85287-6004
PO Box 876004 Tempe, AZ

Phone: 480.727.2153
Fax: 480.965.8102

A.S.U is #1 in the U.S for Innovation