UCF Receives $25,000 from Northrop Grumman for Training Space Workers

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Sept. 22, 2009 — The UCF Research Foundation has been awarded $25,000 by Northrop Grumman to administer a program designed to give up to 32 qualified college students real-world experience in the space industry.

The bulk of the funding, $20,000 will support specialized training for college students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and put them in direct contact with space coast contractors and the types of projects they would be expected to complete in the space industry.

“We want to support STEM students locally who have the capability to be hired by the local space industry, said Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee, director of the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium and interim director of UCF’s Florida Space Institute.

Dr. Mukherjee will administer the program that will consist of two groups of 16 students, drawn from university students in an approximately 50-mile radius around the Kennedy Space Center. The five-day curriculum for each class, held during Christmas and spring breaks, includes class time with contractors on site at the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex, tours of the KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station facilities and the opportunity to design, construct and release scientific balloon payloads.

Space Florida and the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium have conducted the undergraduate academy since 2006 and a recent survey of past students indicated that a majority of past attendees are working successfully in STEM fields, many for NASA and major space contractors.

In recognition of Northrop Grumman’s support of the program the 2 Academies will be called the Northrop Grumman Academy, Mukherjee said.

The remainder of the Northrop Grumman funding, $5,000, will support a program to recruit and train Brevard Community College students as technicians to support the launch of high-altitude sounding rockets.

“Northrop Grumman is pleased to team with the University of Central Florida Research Foundation and the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium to sponsor programs which will encourage and challenge students to continue their studies in science-based programs at universities and colleges in Florida, said Roy Bridges, director of Space and Science Services, Northrop Grumman Technical Services. “As a major employer in Brevard County, we recognize the critical need for STEM educated graduates for our work force today and well into the future”.
Contacts:
Jaydeep Mukherjee, , NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, Florida Space Institute
jmukherj@mail.ucf.edu
321-452-4301

Barb Abney, UCF Office of Research & Commercialization
babney@mail.ucf.edu
407-823-5139

Participating in the check presentation at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Rocket Garden are, from left: Robert Crabbs, associate director of UCF’s Florida Space Institute; Jaydeep Mukherjee, director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, and interim director, Florida Space Institute; Sreela Mallick, assistant director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium; Roy D. Bridges, Jr., director, Space and Science Services, Northrop Grumman Technical Services, and Roy Tharpe, Space Gateway Support deputy chief of operations at Northrop Grumman and chairman of the National Space Club Florida Committee.

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