Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes today announced that the conference report on the Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies 2006 spending bill includes key funding for new technologies and new discoveries that will create jobs and economic opportunities for the future.
This federal funding will link Maryland institutions with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), and includes significant monies to connect Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland communities through a broadband network.
"Science is the key to innovation and innovation is the key to our future. Our economy and our national security will depend upon our ability to develop new technologies, new materials and a new workforce," said Senator Mikulski. "Science is central to the innovation economy. I am proud to have fought for this federal funding, which will create huge opportunities for our state and our country."
"This funding bolsters the research activities of public-private partnerships in the State of Maryland, many of which are on the cutting edge in the development of new technologies and new innovations for our 21st century workforce and economy," added Senator Sarbanes.?
- $271 million for the Hubble Space Telescope, a $50 million increase to accommodate a servicing mission for Hubble. A final decision on servicing Hubble will be made by the NASA Administrator pending a review of the use of the space shuttle. This increase will ensure there is enough money for a Hubble servicing mission if the shuttle is deemed to be safe for the mission.
- $4 million for the Chesapeake Information Based Aeronautics Consortium, an aeronautics consortium made up of Morgan State University, Bowie State University and the University of Maryland at Eastern Shore. The consortium works on NASA's aviation safety and security program by helping NASA develop synthetic vision systems to improve safety for commercial airliners.
- $2 million for the Institute for NanoBio Technology at Johns Hopkins University. The Institute is devoted to researching and applying nanotechnology to biomedicine and medical devices. Future space exploration will require revolutionary new medical technology for diagnosing and treating diseases. New breakthroughs in nano-biomedicine could save lives here on Earth, while creating new technologies and new jobs in Maryland.
- $3.5 million for the Maryland Institute for Dextrous Robotics at the University of Maryland at College Park. This institute is devoted to creating a new generation of robots and robotic technology for space exploration. Robotic technology will be critical for future manned space flight and scientific research in space. The technology developed for space will have application on Earth that will spur the development of new technologies and new jobs in Maryland.
- $1.5 million for the Center for Nanoparticle Risk Impact and Assessment at the University of Maryland at College Park. The new center is a cooperative institute between NIST and the University of Maryland that studies the health and safety issues associated with the development of nanotechnology. The institute will help develop new safety standards for this emerging technology.
BROADBAND CONNECTING EASTERN SHORE AND SOUTHERN MARYLAND
- $4 million to upgrade the infrastructure of the Wallops Island Flight Facility to allow Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) to operate out of Wallops. This funding will be used to upgrade hangars, ground support facilities and laboratories to develop civilian uses for UAV's such as weather prediction, atmospheric research and earth science research.
- $2 million to build a broadband network capability for the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland linking two major federal installations, the Wallops Island Flight Facility and the Patuxent Naval Air Station. The building of this network will be a major source of future economic development for the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland by linking two major federal employment centers with local universities to spur job creation and innovation on the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland. The state of Maryland and the private sector will also contribute funds to build this network in phases with the first phase connecting the Wallops Island Flight Facility to the rest of the Eastern Shore. Future phases will complete the rest of the network.
MARYLAND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
- $600,000 for the Maryland Technology Development Corporation's Minority Research and Development Initiative to provide support to help minority businesses in Prince George's County compete for research and development funding.? This program will help create new opportunities and new jobs while helping to build an innovation-based economy in Prince George's County and throughout Maryland.
In the next step of the appropriations process, the bill will move back to the House and Senate floors for final votes. Once passed by the House and Senate, the bill will go to the President for his signature.