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Space Act Agreement Between Salisbury University and NASA Provides New Opportunities for Students and Workforce Development

SALISBURY, MD—Salisbury University students have new opportunities to reach the stars thanks to a new Space Act agreement signed between SU ​​and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The partnership is expected to provide enhanced experiential learning opportunities for SU students at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, and strengthen NASA’s pipeline of involvement on campus, including the opportunity to invite speakers and participation in on-campus events such as job and career fairs.

“This occasion marks a momentous agreement between our institution and NASA Wallops, one that underscores the spirit of collaboration and innovation that defines our two organizations,” said League President Carolyn Ringer Lepre.

“NASA Wallops has long been at the forefront of space exploration, achieving pioneering breakthroughs that have expanded our understanding of the universe and inspired generations of scientists, engineers and dreamers. Likewise, SU has a proud tradition of academic excellence and a commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge in various disciplines.

“By joining forces, we are embarking on a journey full of promise for the future. …From space exploration and technology development to environmental sustainability and beyond, our collaboration with NASA Wallops opens new frontiers of discovery and innovation.

“Our success at NASA, today and in the future, depends on a dynamic network of partnerships focused on our mission operations and growing the next generation of innovators,” said Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “NASA’s partnership with Salisbury University expands our workforce development ecosystem and provides students with real-world experience in critical aerospace career areas.

Although the agreement formalizes SU’s partnership with NASA, the organizations have a history of collaboration. In 2021, eight SU students designed and built a ThinSat launched from Wallops for delivery to the International Space Station. The small satellite relayed information to determine the impacts of storms on the magnetic field in the lower thermosphere and to identify weather phenomena that are more difficult to detect with ground-based instruments.

Previous SU-Wallops initiatives included a study of the effects of microgravity on metastasized cancer cells, in collaboration with Old Dominion University.

SU’s ties to NASA are not limited to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Through the Virginia Spaceport Authority, Wallops hosted SU interns with backgrounds not only in science and geography, but also in fields such as public relations. Two SU art students designed mission patches sent to the International Space Station as part of a program hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park.

Additionally, several NASA officials have spoken at SU, including Space Shuttle Astronaut Richard Arnold II, Hubble Space Telescope Mission Deputy Project Manager Jim Jeletic, and, most recently, Dr. J. Tanner Slagel, research computer scientist at NASA Langley Research Center.

According to David Pierce, director of Wallops Flight Facility, the SU Space Act partnership will provide the necessary long-term resources for the facility.

“Our operations are growing at Wallops, highlighting the need for an innovative and skilled workforce to advance our science and technology missions,” he said. “This agreement helps us fill a critical workforce need to propel us into the future. »

Lepre hopes this collaboration is just the beginning for SU.

“Beyond scientific and technological advances, today’s agreement is a testament to the power of partnerships and how they can shape our future,” she said. “This symbolizes our shared commitment to nurturing talent, fostering collaboration and making a meaningful impact on society. »

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