Maryland Governor Wants to Build Up Space Industry

O’Malley wants more funds for aerospace
Baltimore Sun

Hoping to tap into an economic engine that can weather the recession, Gov. Martin O’Malley unveiled a strategy Tuesday for bolstering the space industry’s foothold in the state by lobbying for more federal dollars and emphasizing science and mathematics in schools.

O’Malley, speaking to more than 500 aerospace industry representatives in Greenbelt, outlined a plan to harness what he characterized as the state’s “unsung economic hero.” The vision is similar to one the governor has articulated for the biotechnology industry as a way to further move the state from a manufacturing- to a knowledge-based economy.

The plan was announced on the heels of a successful mission to repair the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. It would build on what has become the state’s space industrial complex – federal facilities such as the Goddard Space Center and Space Telescope Science Institute, as well as many of the largest companies in the space sector that have operations here.

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Governor Martin O’Malley addressed members of the Maryland Space Business Roundtable today, an organization of aerospace-releases business and professional organizations designed to encourage the growth and development of space-related business in Maryland.  During his address, Governor O’Malley outlined a strategic vision for expanding the space industry within Maryland.

“Maryland’s space industry has been, in many ways, an unsung economic hero for our State, and it is an important part of our strategy for growing Maryland’s high-tech sector,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Space missions launched from Maryland have revolutionized what we know about our universe, and helped to unlock mysteries about our own planet.  Maryland has a tremendous advantage to grow this industry, particularly given our proximity to the nation’s top federal facilities and institutions.”

Governor O’Malley outlined the strategic vision just days after unveiling a multi-year plan to expand the biotech industry in our State, even during difficult economic times.  The vision is designed to harness the innovation and uniqueness of Maryland’s nearly 50 federal installations.  The plan includes:

    1. Creation of a Federal Facilities Advisory Panel, created to craft a comprehensive assessment of how Maryland can best support and leverage the potential of its federal facilities. The Task Force, which will operate in partnership with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), will be made up of leaders from a variety of industries in the private sector, including space, health and technology, as well as academia and State government.
    2. Maryland will work to integrate all the various efforts and initiatives across the State government that impact our space industry, including education and workforce initiatives, public safety and critical infrastructure needs around the physical plants and the communities in which they are located.
    3. Later this year, we will convene the first ever Maryland Federal Facilities Summit to bring together for the first time all of our federal partners in Maryland along with our congressional delegation to talk about our future and how we can better cooperate to strengthen our ties to the missions which these agencies provide for our country.
    4. We will harness our expertise in space-based engineering and communications to grow our professional services industry in the space area.
    5. Maryland can be the nerve center for “green science” in our nation.  We will work with industry and government so Maryland is the scientific beachhead from which we monitor carbon emissions in any new system of cap and trade regulations.  We will also work with our congressional delegation to push for a doubling of NASA’s budget as it relates to earth science and monitoring of global warming. 
    6. Maryland can be the national hub of efforts to service satellites while in orbit – giving new life to old spacecrafts and saving taxpayer funds in the process.
    7. We will fight to secure Maryland’s place as the world leader in astronomy.  As part of these efforts, we will partner with our congressional delegation to fight to protect the future of the James Webb Space Telescope.
    8. We will encourage young Marylanders to seek careers in the space business.  One of our best tools for these efforts is the proposed Goddard-based Maryland Science, Education and Exploration Center, which would be run by a self-sustaining non-profit organization, and would feature dynamic exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities.

 “In these challenging economic times, we must do more than ever to nurture this vital sector of Maryland’s economy while supporting the critical, often life-saving missions of our federal and military partners,” said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “I look forward to working in partnership with the Federal Facilities Task Force to build on the innovation and uniqueness of our federal facilities and help strengthen their economic value to our region.”

Maryland is home to 16 of America’s top 25 space industry manufacturing and service companies, including the Goddard Space Center, with its 50 year presence in Maryland dating back to 1959, and the Hubble Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute, the greatest orbiting science observatory ever built.  Private sector space industry giants are also located in Maryland including CSC, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, ATK, ARINC, Orbital Services, SAIC, Battelle, General Dynamics, Hughes Network Systems, and Honeywell.  

Maryland is also home to flagship labs such as the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, employing 400 Marylanders who work in space-related pursuits.  In addition, Morgan State University, Bowie State and the University of Maryland’s College Park, Eastern Shore and Baltimore County campuses are currently conducting cutting edge aeronautics research.

Maryland is widely recognized as home to one of America’s most highly skilled workforces, and has been labeled by Education Week Magazine as the #1 best public school system in America.

Maryland is home to nearly 50 federal facilities, which employ more than 100,000 well-educated, highly-skilled government employees and contractors in areas such as space exploration, cutting-edge research and development and scientific, medical and technological innovations. In total, Maryland’s federal facilities contribute an estimated $16 billion to the State’s economy. In addition, Maryland’s 12 military installations employ 90,000 civilian and military workers statewide, not counting the estimated 60,000 jobs coming to Maryland as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure process.