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NASA and Hawaii Partner for Space Exploration
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) May 31, 2011

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NASA and Hawaii have agreed to collaborate on a wide range of activities to promote America's human and robotic exploration of space. The partnership also will contribute to the development of education programs and foster economic opportunities including new, high-tech jobs.

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie and NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Rebecca Keiser signed a two-year non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement Annex during a ceremony in Honolulu. The ceremony was held on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's historic announcement committing the country to land an American on the moon and return him safely before the end of the decade.

"Hawaii has been part of America's space activities from the beginning of the space program when Apollo astronauts trained in the islands for their historic missions to the moon," Abercrombie said. "This partnership with NASA will broaden educational and employment opportunities for our local families and bring dollars into our economy."

The annex establishes a partnership between NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and Hawaii to explore and test new technologies, capabilities and strategies supporting America's space exploration and development goals.

Under the agreement, Hawaii is proposing to explore development of a ground-based international lunar effort. It would use the state's unique moon/Mars analog terrain to enable development and testing of advanced automated and tele-robotic vehicles. Researchers would benefit from Hawaii's natural geography to study in-situ resource use, advanced communications, power generation and other technologies required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

"This type of participatory exploration is becoming an increasingly important component of the 21st century space program," Keiser said. "Americans want to participate directly and personally in space activities. As we have seen from NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services project and the Centennial Challenges prize competitions, harvesting the country's innovative talent is important to the success of our future endeavors in space. The space frontier is opening in novel and exciting ways."

Hawaii will provide the prototype test environment and infrastructure for the proposed analog test facilities. NASA will evaluate new concepts and models for conducting space exploration. Hawaii will explore the potential to develop and mature innovative space-related technologies for educational, industry and government use.

"From NASA's perspective, this partnership can inspire ideas and applications from analog test sites that can be generalized to space exploration and development of the moon and other planetary bodies," said Ames Director Pete Worden.

Hawaii's Office of Aerospace Development will be the lead state agency for the project, enhancing dialogue and coordination among the state, private and academic partners to enable growth and diversification of the state's aerospace economy.

"We support NASA's goal to promote public-private partnerships and multinational alliances to help reduce the cost, enhance the feasibility and accelerate the implementation of future space missions - leading to settlements beyond low-Earth orbit," said Jim Crisafulli, director of Hawaii's Office of Aerospace Development. "Locally, this collaboration should catalyze Hawaii-based economic innovation and engage engineers, scientists, educators, and students, as well as commercial entrepreneurs, to increase the opportunities and benefits of space exploration."

More information about Hawaii's aerospace initiatives.

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