In 1987, responding to widespread concerns about both the health of American space technology development and the academic preparation of 21st-century space professionals, NASA announced a nationwide competition to establish a number of Space Engineering Research Centers. These centers were to be founded on the campuses of nine Universities with strong Doctoral programs in Engineering. Over 115 proposals were received by NASA in November 1987. The University of Arizona's proposal was selected in May as one of the winners, with a budget of approximately $7 million guaranteed by NASA for a minimum funding period of five years. The role of the University of Arizona SERC is to develop the technologies necessary to produce a wide variety of useful products using the materials and sources of energy that occur naturally in near-Earth space. An additional purpose is to lower the cost and extend the scope of large-scale activities. A brief description of the Center's activities for the 1989-1990 period is presented.