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NASA Deputy Administrator and Florida Governor Discuss Benefits of Space Exploration at Miami Future Forum


MIAMI -- NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist discussed Friday how space exploration gives Floridians a more competitive economy and better quality of life during a NASA Future Forum at the University of Miami.

As an example, Crist used the event to announce a partnership between state-funded Space Florida and SPACEHAB of Webster, Texas. They plan to use the International Space Station’s national laboratory designation and the Space Life Sciences Lab at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla. to carry out space-based biomedical and biotech research.

“Today’s announcement exemplifies why we’re holding future forums in cities such as Miami,” Dale said. “It allows us to talk directly to the public about the diverse ways America’s long-term space exploration goals lead to economic growth, scientific discoveries and technological advancements for people right here on Earth, right in their own communities.”

“Florida is committed to fostering a thriving aerospace industry and is quickly becoming known as one of the nation’s top biotech centers,” said Governor Crist. “The partnership reinforces our dedication to the biotech industry. This is an exciting opportunity to stimulate progress in this new market and in Florida’s economy.”

The forum was part of a yearlong series of events across the country marking NASA’s 50th anniversary.

Other NASA participants included astronauts Carl Walz and Steve Frick. Walz, director of the Advanced Capabilities Division in NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in Washington, discussed the agency’s plans to return to the moon and travel beyond. Frick commanded space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-122 mission to the International Space Station in February.

Panel discussions among NASA representatives and Florida academic and commercial groups highlighted the future of space exploration.

“To advance exploration and understanding of space is one of the most ambitious human endeavors of our era,” said Donna E. Shalala, president of the University of Miami. “We are grateful for the opportunity to connect space exploration, entrepreneurship and education, as one of the selected sites to host a NASA Future Forum in celebration of the agency’s 50th anniversary.”

On Thursday, engineers from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center held a panel discussion with engineering students from the University of Miami. It included talk about what education and job skills will be needed from future NASA engineers. The panel was followed by a workshop with aerospace education specialists and education students.

The Miami Future Forum was sponsored, in part, by the University of Miami, Space Florida, United Space Alliance, Houston, Raytheon, Waltham, Mass, Jacobs Engineering, Pasadena, Calif., and ATK, Edina, Minn.


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