Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The Air Force Test Center's Test Pilot School is selecting students for the first Space Test Fundamentals course, which begins January 2021.
"Today, here in this building, a board is selecting the first class of space professionals to attend our new space test fundamentals course," said Maj. Gen. Christopher Azzano, AFTC commander, during the Multi-Domain Test Force activation ceremony held Oct. 1 in the Test Pilot School Scobee auditorium. "How fitting that we're talking about a new paradigm for domain-integrated test in the halls of our own test pilot schoolhouse."
The school has received 166 applicants for the three planned courses, the first of which is slated to begin in January and lasts 13 weeks.
TPS plans to notify students who have been selected for the program in November. It's a hands-on program designed to train personnel in the fundamentals of space domain test and evaluation.
"This course coalesces test and space expertise from Test Pilot School, the Space Force, NASA, the Air Force Academy and others," said Col. Nick Hague, U.S. Space Force Test and Evaluation director and NASA astronaut. "It is just the first step in training the cadre of space test professionals we need - space operators, engineers, space acquisition test managers - to deliver on-orbit capabilities for the nation."
The course curriculum is based on the same test and evaluation foundation that grounds the current USAF Test Pilot School.
It is broken up into six modules that include introduction to air vehicle flight test, introduction to systems testing, basics of the space environment, a field trip to see U.S. space development, test and operations facilities, a capstone exercise featuring a graduation project -- and a course wrap-up.
The Air Force Academy will also teach a week of instruction specific to astronautical engineering, including orbital mechanics, satellite bus design and space environment.
The course, which expects to host 15 students per class and which should be held three times a year, is open to military officers as well as enlisted and civilian personnel who meet the eligibility criteria.