OSU Selected as the Lead Partner for First-Ever Science Park Devoted to Space Research

Voyager Space, a space technology company, has selected The Ohio State University to host an analog laboratory at the Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The analog laboratory, known as the George Washington Carver Science Park and Terrestrial Laboratory (GWCSP) will be a replica of the Starlab space station science park, which will allow researchers to practice missions and conduct experiments while on the ground. The park, named after the famous American inventor and agricultural scientist, will feature four main operational departments: a biology lab, plant habitation lab, physical science and materials research lab, and an open workbench area.

The research obtained by this laboratory will help the Ohio agricultural community by preserving Ohio’s water quality, improving crop efficiency, genetics, and production, and enhancing the health of animals.

Voyager Space selected a proposal from “Team Ohio,” which is composed of the university, the State of Ohio, JobsOhio, and One Columbus, to serve as the lead partner for the project, the first of its kind.

“We’ve been working with OSU and other partners to bring this first-ever science park devoted to space research to Ohio. This landmark partnership at the intersection of aerospace and agriculture is extraordinary, and together, we will accelerate transformational aerospace technologies as Ohio continues to lead this nation into the Aerospace Age of the 21st Century,” Governor Mike DeWine said on Facebook.

There are many other companies assisting in the implementation of this facility. Zin Technologies, an Ohio-based company, is advising on the design of the space lab and will be assisting in developing necessary hardware. The Universities Space Research Association, based in Washington D.C but with a long-term presence in Ohio, is part of the founding leadership team on the project and will direct and manage the park, oversee lab operations, and schedule and prioritize research projects. The George Washington Carver Science Park is the first park dedicated strictly to space by the International Association of Science Parks.

This park, established by Voyager Space and its operating company Nanoracks, is an important piece of Starlab, the company’s future commercial space station. Last year, Voyager and Nanoracks won a Space Act Agreement for $160 million dollars from NASA to design Starlab as part of their project, Commercial Destinations-Free Flyer.

“We have only just begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities and opportunities that await us in the ‘final frontier,’ and our ability to maximize future exploration hinges on collaboration between scientists and industry experts,” Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson said. “Locating the terrestrial lab of the George Washington Carver Science Park on Ohio State’s campus will be the best possible way to facilitate this joint effort and ensure we are sharing resources, research, and knowledge across multiple disciplines.”

The project will consist of two parts over two years. It will begin this year with a facility at the Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Towards the middle to end of next year, Voyager Space plans to begin construction on a separate facility on the Ohio State Aerospace and Air Transportation Campus at the Ohio State University Airport. At this time the company has not announced the cost of the project.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]

 

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