Navatek research to open Wichita State office, partnership

July 08, 2020 - 4:24 pm

Photo: Navatek / Facebook


Navatek LLC, a contractor focused on technology research for U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Defense and NASA, is opening an office on the Wichita State University, (WSU), campus in fall 2020.

This collaborative partnership between Navatek and WSU will grow combined applied research capabilities for the military, provide critical hands-on learning opportunities for students and help diversify the local economy.

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Among its work, the Navatek-WSU partnership will explore using inflatable wing materials and structures to extend the range that airborne personnel can travel in squirrel wingsuits. The effort promises to open up a whole new set of mission possibilities using the lightweight flight suits, spotlighted in popular culture by daredevils jumping out of planes and off cliffs.

Inflatable technology will be used further to build wings and structures for lighter, smaller unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones,” and is being used in the design of new space habitats for NASA. The Navatek-WSU team will perform research into new materials, structures, fabrication and deployment techniques, and the aerodynamic performance of prototypes to push this technology to the next level.

Navatek and Wichita State have signed an 8-year memorandum of understanding outlining their research and recruitment partnership. Navatek has signed a lease for office space in the John Bardo Center (JBC) and is hiring full-time engineers and scientists, including a director, as well as a half-dozen WSU students, as part of an annual and recurring applied learning program. 

Navatek plans to expand staffing to 20 engineers and scientists within the next 24 months.

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