U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said yesterday that the FAA has selected New Mexico State Univ. at Las Cruces to lead a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation.
The center is a partnership of academia, industry, and government, developed to create a world-class consortium that will address current and future challenges for commercial space transportation.
LaHood ssaid, “This new center will ensure that the commercial space community can meet our current and future space transportation needs.”
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said, “Commercial space flight is ready to play a greater role in the nation’s space program. Universities working with industry partners will fuel the research necessary to help keep us in the forefront of both technology and safety in space.”
Called the Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation, the new center is expected to begin operations this month. The research and development efforts will include four major research areas – space launch operations and traffic management; launch vehicle systems, payloads, technologies, and operations; commercial human space flight; and space commerce (including space law, space insurance, space policy and space regulation).
The FAA will enter into 50-50 cost-sharing cooperative agreements to establish the partnerships, with plans to invest at least $1 million per year for the initial five years of the center’s operations.