The Lunar Caves Analog Test Site (LCATS) is an advanced three year Space-STEM learning curriculum for middle and high-school students.

The LCATS program environment engages a pipeline of motivated middle and high school students to assist aerospace professionals solve real-world space exploration technology development challenges through investigations of science experiments, space exploration mission operations, technology development, and habitability system architectures for Space-STEM learning performance.

LCATS students are selected from the San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP), of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Students not enrolled in PREP from San Antonio area-wide school districts are also eligible through a competitive selection process.

Learn about TexPREP.

The LCATS Experience

  • Field trips to caves to learn geology and biology of caves; how to take science measurements, and explore
  • Instruction by volunteer aerospace engineers and scientists
  • Mission concept design
  • Construct scaled robots and terrain models
  • Learn space architecture methods and why planetary caves are important for habitation
  • Team building and entrepreneurship¬†
  • Learn about space cave environments, geology of planetary caves, exploration issues, challenges of pit access for robots and astronauts, and why technologies and science measurements are needed
  • Participate in deployment of field robotics to caves for actual science measurements and simulated mission ops

The LCATS Mission

Offer substantial student learning experiences in space exploration investigations supporting a real world commercial lunar site development program.

Provide students with the latest information on the universe, manned and unmanned expeditions, advances in space technology, concepts surrounding spaceflight, and the history of astronomy.

Give students mission experiences, space science laboratory tours, and caving experiences. They are also given the opportunity to participate in a TAME-affiliated club.

By anchoring the LCATS program to actual technology engineering and science investigation challenges throughout the various LEAP2 growth phases, student learning experiences align with NASA mission priorities for its Artemis Return to Moon, on to Mars exploration program.

LCATS in Action

Click below to learn more about the LCATS experience

LEAP2 Framework

Learn more about LEAP2 Space Technology Development and the mission reference framework that guides LCATS programming.


Interested in applying for LCATS? Learn more here!

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LCATS is made possible by a dedicated group of organizations and individuals including:


Community Leaders

Professional Scientists and Engineers

Subject Matter Experts

Undergrad and Graduate Student Mentors


Program Evaluators

By helping to fund our programs for motivated Middle and High School students with an interest in exploring space, you advance 21st century careers for underrepresented minorities, female, and economically disadvantaged students.

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