has selected a Space Florida-led team called the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (Casis) to manage commercial, industrial and other non- uses of the International Space Station (ISS).
Partners in the project, which initially will be worth up to $15 million a year, include, Bionetics and Dynamic Corp. Space Florida is a state-backed economic development board focused on building and diversifying Florida’s aerospace businesses. Casis will be based at the Space Life Sciences Laboratory, adjacent to .
“Its goal is to create a truly unique enterprise that is flexible and agile rather than simply a repurposed legacy organization,” Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll wrote to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in support of Space Florida’s bid.
“This is a big deal,” Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, said in a statement. “It’s going to bring money, jobs and industry to diversify an area hard hit by retirement of the shuttle program.”
Congress established the ISS National Lab in 2005. Casis is NASA’s choice to become the nongovernmental organization (NGO) to run the U.S. part of the station that NASA does not use. A contract is expected to be issued this summer.
“We expect that organization to be the front door for anybody who wants to use the station for non-NASA needs, for non-exploration kinds of research that they want to do,” Marybeth Edeen, who heads the National Lab Office, said in a June interview with Aviation Week.
“That non-profit organization — we refer to it as the national lab management entity — will set up their processes to be that front door to go into, just like you do at many other national labs [such as] Brookhaven or Livermore or whatever,” Edeen says.
In addition to expanding the scope and breadth of research and projects aboard the station, the NGO will work to leverage U.S. taxpayer investment with other funding sources and expand educational initiatives.
“This agreement helps us ensure the station will be available for broad, meaningful and sustained use,” Bolden said in a statement.