A Powerful Partnership

What if your company had a technology challenge you were struggling to solve? What if the innovation and expertise that has propelled our nation’s space aspirations for decades could be brought to bear to help solve your problem? How would these opportunities benefit and grow the Space Coast’s business community?

That is exactly what NASA and the EDC have teamed up to help shape and promote across Brevard’s manufacturing and technology industries. 

 A strategic alliance between the national space agency and the Space Coast’s lead economic development organization is designed to bring cutting-edge technology, resources and expertise to solve manufacturing and technology challenges across a wide spectrum of industries.

From aerospace to the most basic manufacturing operations, the newly established Technology Docking program is providing applied technology solutions to accelerate regional economic growth on the Space Coast. The initiative is part of NASA’s national pilot program for Regional Economic Development (RED) and provides small and medium-sized manufacturers and technology-based companies with access to NASA’s subject matter experts, advanced technologies, and capabilities drawing on NASA resources both at the Kennedy Space Center and across the nation.

Everyone Benefits

The end users and beneficiaries of this agreement are the hundreds of manufacturing and technology companies in Brevard County that have specific technical challenges with new or existing products, technologies or production processes. Through this program, the region’s companies have access to NASA resources to help solve their issues quickly with the end goal of increases in revenue and the creation of jobs and new technologies, business lines and companies.

To make the local connection, the EDC is working with NASA to establish guidelines and target companies that qualify for assistance. The EDC also provides regional economic development services including asset mapping, supply chain analysis, and technology matching programs to infuse NASA technology into the surrounding business community.

One important piece of this agreement includes the appointment of a NASA technology liaison who is co-located for a year with the EDC in Rockledge. This NASA “technologist in residence” is responsible for further assessing the NASA technology portfolio and serving as the link to local industry and providing access to NASA data and studies, facilitating access to NASA facilities, expertise and personnel.

Building An Innovation Ecosystem

This pilot program is conducted at the Agency level, and is executed in an agreement between NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) and the EDC through a four-year cooperative agreement. Program officials will re-evaluate this agreement annually. 

With a large concentration of manufacturing and technology companies that operate from the Space Coast, these companies could all benefit from more tools and assistance. As a result of this cutting-edge partnership, we are one of the few communities that can say there is now a program in place, just for these targeted industries, that will expand their reach, increase their access to emerging innovations, and better position them to compete in an industry that is increasingly focused on new technology.

This program not only benefits companies through growth, but in turn, the entire community through economic activity. It’s yet another important step in building the foundation for an innovation ecosystem on the Space Coast.

For interested companies seeking more details on the Technology Docking program, contact for more information. 

Lynda-WeathermanLynda Weatherman is president and chief executive officer of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. 

This article appears in the April 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Business.
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