WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the International Space Station transitions from its assembly phase to full utilization as a unique scientific outpost, NASA is investing in the station's future use by ensuring a wide pool of organizations outside the agency have access to the orbiting lab.
NASA is seeking an independent, nonprofit research management organization to develop and manage the U.S. portion of the station, which was designated a national laboratory in 2005. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010, in addition to extending station operations until at least 2020, also directed NASA to establish this organization to manage station research by other U.S. government agencies, academic institutions and private firms.
The organization will stimulate uses of the station as a national laboratory and maximize the U.S. investment in this initiative. The selected organization will capitalize on the unique venue of the orbiting laboratory as a national resource; and develop and manage a diversified research and development portfolio based on U.S. needs for basic and applied research in a variety of fields.
"NASA recognizes the station is an extraordinary asset for the nation," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Scientific research and development and education are critical to our national growth and prosperity as a high technology society. The station offers exceptional opportunities to contribute to this growth. By taking this action, we are ensuring the station is available for broad, meaningful and sustained use."
The NASA Authorization Act for 2010 established eligibility criteria regarding the selected recipient of this planned cooperative agreement. The organization must be "exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986" and must not have "any other organizational objective or responsibilities on behalf of the organization or any parent organization or other entity."
NASA will host a public forum for organizations that want to learn more about the cooperative agreement from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec. 10, in the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
The forum will allow NASA to describe its vision and objectives for the national lab. The event also will help promote competition on the National Laboratory Management Organization Cooperative Agreement Notice. Managers of national laboratory initiatives and representatives from NASA's Procurement Office will be available to answer questions.
Organizations and members of the media interested in registering for the forum should send an e-mail to email@example.com by 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3. Only registered parties may attend; no walk-ins will be permitted.
The registration e-mail must include:
- Subject line: "ISS National Lab Public Day Registration"
- Point-of-contact's name, telephone number and organization
- Names of all attendees from the organization
The draft cooperative agreement is due for release by Dec. 10. It will be available on the national laboratory website and the NASA Research Opportunities site at:
For Twitter updates about the cooperative agreement notice and the forum, visit: