Salisbury University students have new opportunities thanks to a new Space Act Agreement signed between SU and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The partnership is expected to provide enhanced experiential learning opportunities for SU students at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, and to strengthen the pipeline for NASA involvement on campus, including the potential for guest speakers and participation in campus events such as job and career fairs.

The Space Act Agreement between Salisbury University and NASA, formalizes a pipeline for student opportunities at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and for NASA involvement in SU programs. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Michael Scott, dean of SU’s Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology; SU President Carolyn Ringer Lepre; Dr. Laurie Couch, SU provost and senior vice president of academic affairs; David Pierce, NASA Wallops Flight Facility director; and Dr. Makenzie Lystrup, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center director.

While the agreement formalizes SU’s partnership with NASA, the organizations have a history of collaboration. 

In 2021, eight SU students designed and built a ThinSat that was launched from Wallops for delivery to the International Space Station. Previous SU-Wallops initiatives have included a study of the effects of microgravity on metastasizing cancer cells, in collaboration with Old Dominion University.

SU’s connections to NASA are not limited to just the STEM fields. Through the Virginia Spaceport Authority, Wallops has hosted SU interns not only with science and geography backgrounds, but also in fields like public relations. Two SU art students have designed mission patches flown to the International Space Station through a program hosted by the University of Maryland, College Park.

According to David Pierce, Wallops Flight Facility director, the SU Space Act Agreement partnership will provide necessary long-term resources for the facility.

“Our operations are growing at Wallops, underscoring the need for an innovative, skilled workforce to advance our science and technology missions,” he said. “This agreement is helping us fill a critical workforce need to propel us into the future.”

Lepre hopes this collaboration is just the beginning for SU.

“Beyond the scientific and technological advancements, today’s agreement is a testament to the power of partnerships and how they can shape our future,” she said. “It symbolizes our shared commitment to nurturing talent, fostering collaboration and making a meaningful impact on society.”