NASA’s presence in Arkansas may be increasing thanks to recent grants and potential contracts.
Earlier this month the University of Arkansas was awarded two grants by NASA to fund space technology research, one of which could include conducting experiments on the International Space Station. Following that announcement, Governor Asa Hutchinson probed Space X CEO Elon Musk for his thoughts on the federal space program at last week’s meeting of the National Governors Association.
“What is your comment on NASA, its mission,” asked Hutchinson. “I was in Congress. I supported NASA, but I always feel like it’s floundering, does not have the support of the American people that’s needed. What’s your comment on NASA, its mission, and what advice would you give us?”
After pointing out that his support for NASA once included using the password, “I love NASA,” Musk explained how the space agency needed to create a system to encourage and incentivize competition among contractors in order to reduce costs.
Perhaps having already recognized that need, NASA reached out to the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center and is taking part in “Doing Business with NASA” Thursday. Shannon Roberts is the Program Manager for ASBTDC, and is one of the coordinators of the event.
“Anywhere from office supplies to administrative services, janitorial, fabrication, architecture, transportation – there’s a host of goods and services that [NASA] is interested in using,” said Roberts.
The day-long event in Little Rock will include one-on-one meetings with representatives from NASA. More details on the event can be found here.