Physics department introduces “Space Lab” to Texas State community


Jeremy Thomas | January 29, 2024

matthew johnson, blagoy ranglov and evan jellison
(from left to right) Matthew Johnson, Blagoy Rangelov, Ph.D., and Evan Jellison
computer workstation inside space lab
Components of the BobcatOrbiter satellite

Astronomy researchers from the department of physics have opened the doors to Space Lab, Texas State’s first-ever research lab dedicated to space science. 

Located on the fourth floor of the Roy F. Mitte science building on the San Marcos Campus, Space Lab is designed to facilitate interdisciplinary research and astronomy projects including the BobcatOrbiter satellite which is anticipated to launch to space as early as fall 2024.

Space Lab was secured with the help of Assistant Professor of physics Blagoy Rangelov, Ph.D., who says that the new lab is a result of growing interest in astronomy research projects that were previously conducted.

“The physics department saw the innovative research projects we were doing in temporary spaces and decided to grant us a permanent lab, so it’s very fulfilling to have this space,” said Rangelov. 

“It’s a testament to the hard work of all of the students and faculty who’ve assisted with space science projects to this point.”

Evan Jellison handling equipment
Evan Jellison assembling satellite equipment

One such assistant is Evan Jellison, a graduate researcher who’s assisted Professor Rangelov since 2020. As the founder of the Texas State Society for Space Exploration, Evan is hopeful that Space Lab will serve as a new avenue for collaborative astronomy-related projects on campus.

“It’s important to keep in mind that this lab is not just about our personal research efforts. We want this lab to serve as a gateway for space-related research that many folks haven’t had access to,” said Evan.

“We want to give people the ability to do whatever kind of astronomy or space research they wish. That’s our long-term goal of what we want to be for the university.”

a person looking at a computer screen
Matthew Johnson monitors real-time flight data of satellites in low-earth orbit

Space Lab features a variety of hardware and equipment, most notably a multiscreen computer workstation and a custom-made radio antenna. The two are used in conjunction to track and communicate with satellites currently in low-earth orbit, a project called “Nomad Link.” The project is led by researcher Matthew Johnson, who believes that Space Lab is symbolic of Texas State’s commitment to scientific research.

“We’re supporting Texas State’s goal of being a widely known research institution across many disciplines,” said Matthew.

“It’s an exciting feeling to be able to provide opportunities for research related to atmospheric science and space technology.”

Evan Jellison says that the new lab is open to the Bobcat community regardless of affiliation or degree program. 

“We want campus to know that this lab is available to everyone, regardless of grade level or major,” Evan said.

“Whether you’re interested in helping with research projects or you just want to learn about astronomy and space science, we welcome all faculty, staff, and students.” 

More information can be found on Space Lab’s website and official Instagram account.

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922