Embry-Riddle Gaining Support for Proposed Space Transportation Research & Development Institute

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announces it is gaining support for a multi-university Space Transportation Research & Development Institute (STRDI) as space industry leaders gather in Tallahassee for Florida Space Day today. STRDI, an initiative begun last year by the University, would bring together industry, academic, and government stakeholders to gain federal and state support to build a national center for space transportation research and development, similar to the FAA-sponsored aviation R&D centers based at Embry-Riddle and other universities.

As part of this effort, a bill supporting STRDI as a means to diversify Florida's involvement in space-related research has been introduced by Sen. Evelyn Lynn (R-District 7) and Rep. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange). The bill, which has attracted co-sponsorship by 19 other legislators, will be considered during the 2009 Legislative Session which begins this week in Tallahassee.

"The Space Shuttle is scheduled to retire in 2010, and our nation's share of the commercial launch industry has decreased over the last decade," said Dr. Christina Frederick-Recascino, Embry-Riddle's vice president for research. "We must find ways to improve our launch industry's competitiveness and enable emerging space transportation sectors like personal spaceflight."

Ongoing Embry-Riddle projects include a space policy road-mapping initiative for the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, a spaceport workforce advocacy initiative, and a personal spaceflight human factors initiative. Among STRDI's focus areas are spaceflight passenger and crew qualification and safety, space transportation policy and regulation, spaceport licensing and safety, and integration of spaceflight operations into the FAA's National Airspace System. R&D in these areas will directly benefit Florida-based spaceport operations in support of commercial, military, and NASA programs.

Embry-Riddle has a long history of space-related research in areas such as human factors, atmospheric sampling, astronomy, propulsion, microgravity operations, payload development, and space sciences.

In preparation for Space Day, statewide industry groups have adopted a space advocacy agenda that includes STRDI. These groups include the Associated Industries of Florida, Floridians for Better Transportation, the Florida Engineering Society, the Association of Community Developers, the Florida Space Day Committee, and the Aerospace Career Development Council, among others.

For more information visit www.embryriddle.edu.