Maui News

Hawaii Takes Next Giant Leap With NASA Partnership

May 25, 2011, 2:30 PM HST
* Updated May 25, 2:25 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Gov. Neil Abercrombie. File photo by Wendy Osher.

The state entered a new partnership with NASA today that marks a new step for Hawai’i in space exploration.

NASA and State officials have agreed to collaborate on a range of activities to promote America’s human and robotic exploration of space.  The Governor’s office released a media advisory saying the partnership will contribute to the development of education programs and foster economic opportunities including new, high-tech jobs.

Under the agreement, the state is proposing to explore the development of a prototype International Lunar Research Park at the University of Hawai’i, Hilo.  Plans call for the use of Hawaili’s unique terrain, which is similar to that of the moon and Mars, to enable development and testing of tele-robotic and advanced automated vehicles.

Governor Neil Abercrombie joined NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Rebecca Keiser in signing off on a two-year agreement, formally called a “non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement Annex.”

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Today’s signing 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.

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“Hawai’i 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,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “This partnership with NASA will broaden educational and employment opportunities for our local families and bring dollars into our economy.”

The agreement also establishes a partnership between NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and Hawai’i to explore and test new technologies, capabilities and strategies supporting America’s space exploration and development goals.

“This is the type of participatory exploration involving universities and small- to mid-sized high technology companies that is becoming an increasingly important component of the 21st century space program,” said Keiser. “The space frontier is opening in novel and exciting ways,” she said.

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*** Supporting information courtesy, Office of the Governor, State of Hawai’i.

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