08:08 AM

USRA Selected to Lead Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research (GESTAR) Studies and Investigations

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has selected a team led by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to facilitate experimental, analytical, and theoretical research in support of NASA's strategic Earth and space science objectives. The GESTAR will conduct research on all aspects of the Earth system, including the atmosphere, the biosphere, the oceans, and the solid Earth, as well as information and computational sciences and planetary sciences.

The USRA team will provide GSFC with studies and investigations that will enhance cooperative relationships among NASA, academia, not-for-profit scientific organizations, and government experimental research programs in concert with Goddard's Sciences and Exploration Directorate. The GESTAR cooperative agreement has a total value of $95.8 million, which will be annually funded up to $20 million. This agreement runs from May 11, 2011 through May 10, 2016, with the ability to extend for an additional five years if deemed appropriate.

'USRA is honored to be awarded this opportunity to collaborate alongside Earth and space scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center,' said Dr. Frederick Tarantino, USRA President. 'We look forward to advancing NASA's Earth and space science objectives through the combined research efforts and talents of our three local partners and our diverse national network of universities.'

The highly qualified team supporting the GESTAR program includes USRA, Morgan State University (MSU), The Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and I.M. Systems Group. Morgan State University, one of the nation's premier Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), awards more bachelor's degrees to African-American students than any other campus in Maryland. MSU was selected to the team because of its commitment to STEM related disciplines including doctoral programs in bio-environmental sciences and investment into state-of-the-art research facilities. The Johns Hopkins University, one of the leading research institutions in the nation, brings its standard of excellence in research and resources to the team. JHU will provide relevant expertise to the GESTAR, including experimental robotic and modeling capabilities; and atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrospheric research. Finally, I.M. Systems Group, a locally based, ISO 9001 certified company, brings 15 years experience in providing environmental scientific, technical, and IT support to the U.S. Federal Government.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, has been in operation for 50 years -- chartered on May 1, 1959. The Goddard Space Flight Center is a major U.S. laboratory for developing and operating unmanned scientific spacecraft. During the past 50-years, Goddard has been at the forefront in exploration, in technological achievement, in space science, and in studying the Earth as a system.

Founded in 1969, USRA is an independent research corporation with competencies that span space, Earth, and life sciences related disciplines, which are closely aligned with the nation's science and national security agencies. As a non-profit corporation with 105 major research university members, USRA's scientific and technical staff collaborate with over 300 universities annually. This depth of reach into the research community provides a unique platform for advancing science and technology.