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USRA Wins Award to Continue Operating the Lunar and Planetary Institute

USRA has been awarded a cooperative agreement to continue to operate the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI).

"Nearly half a century since USRA's establishment, we continue to explore Earth's Moon at LPI while we reach deeper into the solar system by investigating celestial bodies such as Mars, Ceres, Saturn and Pluto." said Dr. Jeffrey Isaacson, USRA President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are pleased that NASA continues to find our partnership valuable in supporting these missions and ensuring the future of space exploration through education and public outreach."

Lunar and Planetary Summer Interns 2015

The Lunar and Planetary Institute Summer Interns and advisors during the 2015 Orientation Day. The photo was taken at the LPI Library in USRA's Houston, Texas, office.

"We are delighted that NASA, in acknowledging our outstanding past service, has once again selected USRA to operate the Lunar and Planetary Institute. We will continue to provide critically important services to the scientific community, as well as the broader community of adults and children interested in space," noted Dr. Stephen Mackwell, the LPI Director.

LPI staff Paul Schenk and Georgiana Kramer in 2014

USRA Staff Scientist, Paul Schenk, and Georgiana Kramer, Research Scientist, studying the orthographic projections of Dione (a moon of Saturn) at the LPI.

The award is for a three-year base period, and two one-year options. The total funding is $28M over the five-year term of the CA, comprising approximately 50% of the total funding associated with the LPI, with the remaining funds derived from grants and cooperative agreements for scientific and education and public outreach activities. This award was made in response to a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) issued by NASA in 2014. The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) submitted a proposal in September to build upon the many years of successful research and discovery, and the operation of the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). The new award started on May 19, 2015.

The Lunar Science Institute (LSI), subsequently renamed the LPI in 1978, was formed in 1968 by NASA and the National Academy of Sciences. In a speech given by President Lyndon B. Johnson on March 1, 1968, at what was then known as NASA's Manned Space Center in Houston, the Institute was described as a "center of research designed specifically for the age of space. Here will come scientists — and their students — from all over the world. We will welcome here all who are interested in the sciences of space. We will set down new patterns of scientific cooperation which will have profound effects on man's knowledge of his universe." In the following year, the National Academy of Sciences, at NASA's request, established USRA as a nonprofit consortium to manage the LSI. USRA has managed the LSI and, subsequently, the LPI in Houston, Texas since that time.

Originally housed in the West Mansion, adjacent to NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (renamed the NASA Johnson Space Center) in Houston, the LPI moved to its current location near the University of Houston-Clear Lake campus in 1992. This facility currently housing the LPI is wholly owned and operated by USRA, and also houses USRA's Division of Space Life Sciences (DSLS) and Education Programs Office (EPO), which supports USRA's intern programs for NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

USRA Houston Location in 2015

The USRA location in Houston is home to the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Division of Space Life Sciences, and Educations Programs Office.

For more information about the LPI and its activities, visit www.lpi.usra.edu .

About USRA

Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is an independent, nonprofit research corporation where the combined efforts of in-house talent and university-based expertise merge to advance space science and technology. USRA works across disciplines including biomedicine, astrophysics, and engineering and integrates those competencies into applications ranging from fundamental research to facility management and operations. USRA engages the creativity and authoritative expertise of the research community to develop and deliver sophisticated, forward-looking solutions to Federal agencies and other customers - on schedule and within budget.