In a short two years, much of the available space at NASA Research Park (NRP) has been leased to universities, non-profit and industry partners. “Ames was one of two NASA centers granted enhanced use leasing authority. The NRP team has been extremely successful in maximizing the use of this unique authority by bringing collaborative partners into the Research Park,” said Mejghan Haider, chief NASA Research Park.

“Two open house events, a revamped NRP Web site, numerous outreach events and great center support has enabled us to almost reach our capacity,” said Diane Farrar, NRP marketing lead. “Ninety-eight perc ent of the available space has been leased and we have 50-plus partners on site, ” said Haider. About 4,000 square feet of office space still is available, and the NRP team is working to bring more interim space on line to address the demand by many existing partners growing and expanding” Haider added.

NRP and Partnership Office officials continue to use innovative methods to increase NASA’s collaboration with partners at NRP. For example, an agreement with Virgin Galactic LLC, recently was negotiated through NASA’s Space Portal, a newly formed organization in the NASA Research Park, which seeks to engage new opportunities for NASA to promote the development of the commercial space economy.

NASA officials recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Virgin Galactic to explore the potential for collaboration on the development of space suits, heat shields for spaceships, hybrid rocket motors and hypersonic vehicles capable of traveling five or more times the speed of sound.

NASA Ames also recently signed a Space Act Agreement with Google to work together on technical problems including large-scale data management, massively distributed computing and human-computer interfaces. NASA and Google are also finalizing details for additional collaborations including joint research, products, facilities, education and missions, according to a NASA news release.

“The NASA Research Park has reached out into the surrounding community in several important ways,” added Kathleen Burton, a business development specialist with NRP. “For two years, we sponsored the NRP Exploration Lecture series, the mission of which is to inspire the explorer in everyone,” Burton observed. Past lecture speakers have included renowned authors. Andrew Chaikin, who spoke about ‘Moon, Mars and Beyond,’ and wrote the book, ‘A Man on the Moon: The Triumphant Story of the Apollo Space Program.’ Red Whittaker of Carnegie Mellon University, who led the university’s 2005 entry in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge Remote Robotic Vehicle Race, also was a speaker. On March 13, 2007, author-astronaut Tom Jones spoke about his book, ‘Sky Walking an Astronaut’s Memoir.’ Jones talked about his experiences as a mission specialist and payload commander aboard four space shuttle flights.

NRP also conducts ‘technology showcases,’ Burton added. “The main hope is for the technology showcase events to bring in business leaders so they can find out more about NASA partnership opportunities,” Burton said. The next technology showcase is scheduled to take place in Bldg. 3, the NASA Ames Conference Center, on April 24 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the event, NASA partners will exhibit and discuss their business ideas and technology for Silicon Valley decision makers, showcasing NASA partnerships at NRP. Representatives from the NRP community–Honeybee Robotics, Machine to Machine Intel ligence and other organizations–will make short presentations about intel ligent robots, space commercialization and voice-activated and wireless com munications.

Some of the current NPR partners include: Apprion Inc.; Advanced Wireless Communications; Santa Clara University CREST (Center for Robotic Exploration and Space Tech nology); United Negro College Fund Special Programs; Tibion Inc.; Jump ing Beans; Pragati Inc.; Carnegie Mellon University West; Ozen Engineering; Inovamar; Changene; Gary Air; Telebrowse; Digiproofs; E4Exchange; Photozig; Zenpire Corp.; IntelligenTek; University of California, Santa Cruz; Golden Bay Federal Credit Union; ASRC Aerospace; Blu Point Global; Moffett Field History Museum; Intrinsyx; NXAR; Top Quadrant; UAV Collab; Western Disaster Center; the Mars Institute; Planner’s Collab orative; SAIC Corp.; M2MI (Machine to Machine Intelligence); Honeybee Robotics; Bloom Energy; Ecliptic En terprises; and QTech Inc. For more information about NASA Research Park, please visit:

by John blucK