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John Yembrick
Headquarters, Washington

Matt Macokowiak
Office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Washington

Sandy Miller Hays
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Md.

July 23, 2008
RELEASE : 08-184
NASA, USDA Sign Space Station Research Agreement
NASA, USDA officials sign agreement U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, looks on as Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, left, shakes hands with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin after signing a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday, July 23, 2008. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
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WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) hosted NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Secretary of Agriculture Edward T. Schafer during the signing of a memorandum of understanding to enable the USDA's Agricultural Research Service to conduct plant related research on the International Space Station.

The research will improve our understanding of biological cellular mechanisms and may lead to creative new ways to improve American agriculture, protect the environment and contribute to better human health. The agreement reflects NASA's ongoing efforts to develop the space station as a national laboratory, with the ability to serve a broad range of users.

Senator Hutchison introduced the NASA Authorization Act of 2005, which envisioned a cooperative relationship for the space station and NASA. This agreement is the second of what NASA hopes will be many similar agreements with other federal agencies, universities, and private sector research organizations. The first NASA partnership agreement for use of the station as a national laboratory was signed with the National Institutes of Health last September.

For more information about the space station and its use as a national laboratory, visit:

EDITORS NOTE: NASA Television will air video file footage of Wednesday's signing ceremony with Hutchison, Griffin and Schafer starting at 6 p.m. EDT today. High resolution photographs of the signing also will be available via the NASA Web site at:


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