MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA and the State of Alaska agreed today to collaborate in a variety of activities of mutual interest involving small satellite development, advanced aviation, space exploration, education and science.
During a ceremony held at the Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s (AAC) Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, NASA’s Ames Research Center Director S. Pete Worden and Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Curtis Thayer signed a three-year non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement establishing a partnership for space exploration, scientific research and education initiatives in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as STEM.
“NASA is extremely happy to enter into an agreement with the State of Alaska to expand our long-standing relationship,” said Worden. “NASA will work cooperatively with the State of Alaska’s educational institutions, including the University of Alaska system, to find ways to engage Alaska students through hands-on, interactive, education activities and open the way for other cooperative programs in aviation and space technology. This will contribute to the continued availability of trained scientists, technologists, engineers and educators to meet the nation’s technical workforce needs in the 21st century.”
NASA has worked with the State of Alaska over the past half century to advance the national space program, beginning with NASA launches from the Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska. These launches led to a broad range of programs in support of astronomy, planetary geosciences, satellite communications, space-based environmental monitoring, and the development of the Kodiak Launch Complex, as well as other activities that have helped establish the United States as a global leader in space.
On Sept. 29, 2001, Alaska supported the launch of the Department of Defense’s Kodiak Star mission, which carried the NASA-sponsored Starshine-3 on a Lockheed Martin Athena 1 rocket from Kodiak Launch Complex. In addition to the Starshine-3 mission, the Kodiak Star launch carried four NASA science and educational satellites. The KLC will support the upcoming launch of the U.S. Air Force four-stage Minotaur IV rocket, which will carry several NASA-sponsored nanosatellites as secondary payloads, including the Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses (O/OREOS), NanoSail-D and the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) bus.
“The state of Alaska is pleased to continue its collaboration with NASA, and to expand the state’s role as both a contributor to, and beneficiary of, NASA’s national space expertise,” said Thayer. “We look forward, as well, to the hands-on opportunity this brings Alaska students to broaden their educational horizons.”
“Alaska Aerospace looks forward to continued cooperation and building on an existing NASA Ames relationship that includes the satellites on this mission and the active support for the NASA Space Grant program at the University of Alaska,” said Dale Nash, chief executive officer of the Alaska Aerospace Corp., Anchorage, Alaska.
NASA’s Space Grant national network of 52 consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico includes more than 850 affiliates from universities, colleges, industry, museums, science centers, and state and local agencies supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts for NASA’s aeronautics and space projects.
The agreement’s first annex provides for research and development with the Alaska Aerospace Corp., Anchorage, Alaska to evaluate existing ground tracking stations at the Kodiak Launch Complex, Kodiak, Alaska, for potential use in support of NASA’s small satellite operations. The ground stations also could be used to engage Alaska middle school through university students in tracking NASA spacecraft.
For more information about NASA’s Ames Research Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ames