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New NASA Contract May Mean New Jobs at Kennedy Space Center

July 14, 2011 | WMFE - An organization based at Kennedy Space Center has won a NASA contract that may bring some space jobs back to the area.

Space Florida led the team NASA picked to manage the national laboratory on the International Space Station. The contract puts the Space Florida team in charge of choosing the type of experiments that will be run in the space lab.

The Florida team beat out other more well-known research facilities from across the country. Dale Ketcham, Director of the Spaceport Research and Technology Institute at Kennedy Space Center, says Florida won the contract because of the team’s focus on experiments that will have the best chance at being useful in everyday life. 

“Not just commercialization – there are other ways to judge return on investment – but to be able to point to successes when the taxpayer asks what did we get for this hundred billion dollars,” says Ketcham.

Ketcham says the contract will allow Central Florida’s space industry to diversify from just a launch facility into a research center.  

“This is yet another significant step in moving Florida’s position in the nation’s space program to a higher level and on a broader plane,” he says. “We’re getting more involved in more value-added activities, as opposed to being viewed as purely a launch site.”

The contract could mean more space industry jobs. That’s good news for a community suffering through thousands of layoffs as the space shuttle program comes to an end.

 

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