MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Patrick Scheuermann, director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., met with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and a number of other state leaders and legislators April 18 during events at the State Capitol honoring the Marshall Center for its achievements in space exploration and its significance to the state's economy and history.
The Marshall Center team's shared history with Alabama includes putting the first American satellite and astronaut into space, the first humans on the moon, the space shuttles, the Hubble Space Telescope, major elements of the International Space Station and much more, Scheuermann said. History will continue to be made, he added, as the Marshall Center helps expand research aboard the space station, supports the commercial space industry as it strives to transport crews and cargo to the station, prepares the James Webb Space Telescope to let us look even deeper into the universe, and leads development of the Space Launch System - the most powerful rocket in history - to carry explorers beyond Earth orbit for the first time in 40 years.
"Montgomery has always been a partner in our work," Scheuermann said at a luncheon with Alabama leaders. "I believe there are other opportunities for us to work with the community and the state in leveraging our resources in North Alabama to grow the aerospace presence and support some natural growth and synergies in advanced manufacturing, information technology and other areas."
The Marshall Center has a more than $2 billion impact on the Alabama economy, he said. In 2011, the most recent study showed that impact to include $37.5 million in taxes in Alabama and $817 million in contracts in the state, with nearly a quarter of those going to small businesses.
During the series of events honoring the Marshall Center, exhibits were on display in the State House highlighting several technological and scientific achievements of Marshall engineers and researchers.
Astronauts Jack Fischer, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, and Kathleen "Kate" Rubins, a biologist, accompanied Scheuermann at the State Capitol. Both were selected in 2009 to become members of the 20th NASA astronaut class, and completed their candidate training in 2011.
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