Brown Urges NASA Leadership To Reconsider Contract For The International Space Station National Laboratory

Florida Center Picked to Fulfill Contract is Not Performing the Type of Work Needed to Manage Laboratory; Brown Leads Members of the Ohio Delegation in Encouraging NASA to Reopen the Competition for Contract - Space Laboratory Associates--a Partnership Between the Universities Space Research Association and Battelle Memorial Institute--is Ready to Begin Space Launch System Work Immediately.

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The center selected to manage the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory is not performing the type of work necessary to fulfill NASA's requirements, spurring U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to urge NASA to reconsider the contract awarded to Center for Advancement in Science and Space (CASIS). In light of the resignation of the head of CASIS, which is located at the Kennedy Space Station in Florida, Brown today led members of the Ohio delegation on a letter to NASA encouraging the agency to reopen the competition for the contract and to consider the strong application made by Space Laboratory Associates. Space Laboratory Associates (SLA) is a joint partnership between the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and Battelle Memorial Institute.

"While the contract to manage the International Space Station National Laboratory was awarded months ago, the recipient--CASIS--has so far demonstrated that it is unable to fulfill the type of work that is necessary to move this important project forward," Brown said. "Given the limited life of the ISS, it is essential that work of the National Laboratory begin immediately--which is why NASA should reopen the competition for this contract. I also urge NASA to take a closer look at the bid presented by Space Laboratory Associates when the contract was originally opened, as SLA is ready to hit the ground running on the work surrounding the National Laboratory."

Previously, Brown wrote to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden urging him to select Space Laboratory Associates to manage the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory. He also wrote to Space Laboratory Associates urging them to locate its proposed headquarters in the Cleveland area. In March 2011, SLA announced that should it win the NASA contract to develop the ISS National Laboratory, northeast Ohio will serve as that project's new home. A copy of that letter can be seen here.

In addition to Brown, the letter was signed by Ohio Reps. Steve LaTourette, Pat Tiberi, Bill Johnson, Bob Gibbs, Michael Turner, Steve Austria, Steve Stivers, Jean Schmidt, Jim Renacci, Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan, Marcia Fudge, and Betty Sutton. The full text of the letter is below.


Mark Uhran
Manager, International Space Station National Laboratory
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
300 E. Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20546-0002

Dear Mr Uhran:

In light of the events of the last six months, culminating with the resignation of the head of the Center for Advancement in Science and Space (CASIS), we are writing to encourage you to reconsider your contract, and express our strong support for reconsideration of the Space Laboratory Associates proposal to manage the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory.

CASIS was hired to develop research pathways that connect basic and applied research, and develop a pipeline of funding and projects to support the wide range of research opportunities available in the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. It is the general impression of the situation that CASIS is neither performing this type of work, nor actively heading toward being able to perform this type of work. Because of the limited life of the ISS, it may be time to consider a switch in leadership for this activity.

As you know from the strong bid submitted to NASA, Space Laboratory Associates (SLA) is a non-profit entity established by two of this country's top scientific organizations: the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and Battelle Memorial Institute. USRA, a leader in microgravity research, has over forty years of experience in space science and technology research and harnesses the collective brainpower of 105 universities. Unlike CASIS, SLA is ready today to begin the important SLS work.

With these facts in mind, we hope that you will carefully consider the options available for utilizing ISS microgravity capabilities, including the advantages that re-opening the competition for ISS National Laboratory management might offer - including selection of the Space Laboratory Associates proposal to manage the research headquarters of the ISS National Laboratory.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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