THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Proposal advances space research efforts

Mar 11, 2009

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University would spearhead a multi-institution network of universities, community colleges and private groups under a measure approved on Wednesday that sets up a statewide consortium aimed at the stars.

By unanimous vote, the House Economic Development Policy Committee approved a measure (HB 69) that would create the Space Technology and Research Development Institute.

Overseen by the state Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development, the institute would work to coordinate R&D and workforce development efforts around the state as the space shuttle program gives way to its successor and competition increases for those jobs. 

“As we transition from the shuttle to the Constellation program there is a potential loss of thousands of jobs clustered around the Space Center and tens of thousands of jobs elsewhere,” said Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange.

The bill would allow Embry-Riddle to create the organizational structure and work with Federal Aviation Administration officials for certification and possible funding.