About Us

Mission

We are an aerospace research center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (UHH) developing sustainable technologies and industries that benefit Hawaiʻi and space exploration. Through STEM programs, internships and community outreach, we offer hands-on learning experiences to future scientists, coders, engineers and explorers—encouraging them to dream big and pursue space-related careers.

Vision

We envision a thriving, sustainable aerospace sector in Hawaiʻi that provides high-paying jobs for kamaʻāina residents. By developing new aerospace technologies and industries, we strive to advance humanity’s quest to explore the stars.

Projects & Programs

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Applied Research

Researching dual-use technology for Earth & space.

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Aerospace Development

Diversifiying & growing the local economy.

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Internships & Education

Hands-on STEM projects & programs for future explorers.

Our Story

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) was originally conceived by leaders of the Japan U.S. Science, Technology and Space Applications Program (JUSTSAP) as a space exploration development center consisting of industrial, academic, and governmental partnerships between space-faring nations around the world—especially those in the Pacific Rim. In 2007, PISCES was officially created with funding from the Hawaiʻi State Legislature through a joint effort of UHH, JUSTSAP, and the Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT). Under Dr. Frank Schowengerdt, a former director at NASA’s Research Partnerships Center, PISCES’ early mission focused on providing access to lunar/Martian analog sites on Hawaiʻi Island. These sites provided test-beds to validate space exploration technologies like planetary rovers, planetary instruments,  and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU).

In 2012, PISCES was legislatively transferred to DBEDT under the Office of Aerospace Development and its mission expanded to focus on economic development. Under its new directive, the Center worked to bring new revenue to Hawaiʻi through applied research grants and aerospace business opportunities with potential to create new jobs and STEM learning opportunities for residents. PISCES was reassigned to UHH in 2020 as an economic driver and space exploration research institution, emphasizing internships and STEM learning opportunities for kamaʻāina students.

Above: NASA’s RESOLVE (Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen Lunar Volatile Extraction) ISRU test in 2012 at a Hawaiʻi planetary analog site. Credit: NASA