NASA and Space Coast Energy Consortium Sign Space Act Agreement

space_coast_energy_consortium_logoCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the Space Coast Energy Consortium (the Consortium) have created a partnership to develop and improve the Federal spaceport capabilities and to implement the objective of becoming a multi-user spaceport, serving both Government and commercial renewable energy entities. NASA and the Consortium have agreed up on a five-year Space Act Agreement that defines how those goals are to be implemented.

A major goal of the agreement is to jointly develop the Space and Energy Regional Innovation Center (RIC) that will sponsor, support and accelerate the commercialization of emerging energy products and leverage KSC’s technical expertise and facilities to develop sustainable energy products and services.

“The Kennedy Space Center appreciates our relationship with the Space Coast Energy Consortium and looks forward to attracting and growing energy technology
opportunities,” said Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana.

“The Kennedy Space Center is a world-class institution for making complex technologies work reliably under extreme conditions,” said Mike Aller, Executive Director of the Consortium. “The skills necessary to maintain and launch a high-performance turbo pump used in Space Shuttle main engines are the same skills necessary for developing and testing new turbine systems for energy.”

The chairman of the Consortium board, Scott Lewit, president of Structural Composites, Inc. continued with that theme, “Space and energy are closely connected; a rocket is a self-contained energy system. NASA’s development of fuel cells, solar panels, auxiliary power units and many more energy systems is too often undervalued.”

The proposed RIC will focus on enabling end-stage technology development and demonstration of renewable energy technologies that can lead to commercial application. The RIC presents an opportunity for NASA to apply KSC Roadmap strategies to leverage its expertise and resources along with industry in pursuit of energy solutions. The demonstration and introduction of renewable and more efficient energy technologies will also benefit KSC operationally and help it meet the federal sustainability mandates and support space technology development.

The first project undertaken under this new agreement is the loan of a deployable solar-powered truss adapted by engineers working at Kennedy Space Center. The Consortium and several local partners will help to complete and test the prototype and return it to KSC for demonstration purposes. This technology was showcased on the national stage at the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-e Energy Innovation Summit near Washington D.C., February 25-27, 2013.

The Consortium was created by community and industry leaders to assist with the post space shuttle transition, by building networks among local businesses and with resources across the country, helping Florida to diversify its economy into energy-related engineering, manufacturing and service activities.

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