The Rockets and Rigs initiative provides a platform for professionals in the space exploration and oil and gas industries who believe there are similar opportunities and challenges within both arenas that can be addressed, and possibly solved, through developing a vehicle of collaboration.

Mission and Guiding Principles

The Rockets and Rigs initiative is dedicated to helping:

  • Identify common challenges and determine ways to collectively solve them
  • Create and strengthen cross-industry collaborations
  • Find/create funding mechanisms
  • Expand networks with like-minded colleagues

How We Started

The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley’s Center of Advanced Radio Astronomy department was issued a challenge . . . use their programs (such as STARGATE), strategic alliances and technology development initiatives to put UTRGV and the State of Texas at the forefront of commercial space exploration (aka NewSpace). While developing their vision to shape the future of Texas’ space efforts, they recognized that they needed external partners to be successful. The oil and gas sector became a natural place to look—this is Texas.

They believed that through a collaboration of efforts between the space industry and the oil and gas industry—either in energy production, resource extraction or developing/advancing technology together—the time it would take for humanity to become a true space-faring race would be reduced.

Working together and identifying common challenges to create dual-use solutions that allow both industries to benefit is key to lowering the economic barriers for space exploration and development. But what should this new collaboration be called?

After a few minutes of brainstorming, “Rockets and Rigs” was born.



Director, Continuous Improvement
Pioneer Natural Resources


Director, Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy
University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley


Inaugural Rockets & Rigs Continuous Improvement Workshops

More than 80 people from both the space exploration and oil and gas industries met on February 19 - 21, 2018 in the South Padre Island and Brownsville areas. In addition to hearing from leading experts through a series of presentations, panels and open dialogue, they...

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White Paper Development

The Rockets and Rigs initiative was borne from a small meeting of people from both the oil & gas and space exploration industries. From that meeting, the generation of a white paper commenced. While the white paper has not been published, the Feb 2018 workshop agenda...

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