NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Build First Element of ‘Gateway’ Orbital Outpost

NASA Seeks Partnership With US Industry to Build First Element of 'Gateway' Orbital Outpost

In line with US President Donald Trump’s “Space Policy Directive 1”, NASA has sought partnership with the US industry to develop the first element of the Gateway, which will become the orbital outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space.

NASA has released a draft solicitation seeking commercial and international partners via the Board Agency Announcement (BAA) this week to US industry to acquire an element for the Gateway.

The Gateway will support exploration on and near the Moon, and beyond, including Mars, NASA said in a statement.

The draft seeks a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed.

It will also provide power to the rest of the Gateway, controls and communications, the statement said.

“We believe partnering with US industry for the power and propulsion element will stimulate advancements in commercial use of solar electric propulsion and also serve NASA exploration objectives,” said Michele Gates, Director (Power and Propulsion Element) at NASA.

Through the upcoming solicitation, industry will be asked to participate in a public/private partnership, which includes a flight demonstration of the power and propulsion spacecraft.

Following this test lasting up to one-year in space after launch, NASA will have the option to acquire the spacecraft for use as the first element of the Gateway in lunar orbit.

The power and propulsion element is also expected to enable high-rate, reliable communications between Earth and deep space, which will be important during spacewalks in deep space, human exploration of the lunar surface and more.

To meet current Gateway development planning, NASA is targeting launch of the power and propulsion element on a partner-provided commercial rocket in 2022, the statement said.

In addition to the draft BAA, NASA will host an Industry Day on July 10 prior to issuing the final BAA.




The Corporate Partnership Bringing Education And Technology To Rural Ghana

Many girls in rural Africa lack access to education due to factors like gender inequality and familial poverty. But for the past 10 years, a social entrepreneur and former educator in Ghana has been working to change that.

After observing the difficulty many young girls have while trying to access education and stay in school – as well as the lack of innovation in the educational system – social entrepreneur and Ghana native Kafui Prebbie believed he could improve education through technology – so he did.

Prebbie founded TECHAide, a technology company working to digitally deliver educational content to those typically unable to access education in Ghana.

TECHAide provides affordable hotspots, servers, mobile devices, interactive educational software and community computer labs to deliver educational lessons, videos and other content that can be leveraged in rural communities that traditionally lack these resources.

Recently, Prebbie launched the company’s newest product – ASANKA – a mobile hotspot and content delivery system named with a dual meaning: Community Bowl, a Ghanaian reference, and an acronym for All Subjects and New Knowledge Access.

Founded 10 years ago, Prebbie shares the company has reached more than 100,000 students in Ghana. And while TECHAide’s reach validates need, Prebbie wanted to take his technology to a new level – leveraging personal mobile devices to bring education to even more young students across Ghana, a goal that required the help of a strong corporate partner.


Verizon and Vice Media Inc. Announce a New Content Partnership

A recently announced partnership between a telecom giant and an independent mobile video content creator is drawing attention. It points to the opportunities available to even startups in the growing mobile video market.

Verizon, headquartered in New York City, New York, is joining forces with Vice Media, Inc. The Brooklyn company will provide a large catalog of digital content including programming produced exclusively for Verizon.

The new content will be featured on a new Verizon mobile video platform launching later this year.

Vice began as an independent punk magazine called “Voice of Montreal” in 1994 by Shane Smith, Gavin McInnes and Suroosh Alvi. The company would eventually drop the “o” from its name becoming Vice, moved to New York City and drastically expanded its products.

Today Vice operates a network of digital channels, film and TV production facilities, a record label, book publishing and a creative services agency.  The company originally targeted generation X-ers. But it is now known for connection with a large millennial audience.

In an official release announcing the deal, vice president of content strategy and acquisition at Verizon, Terry Denson stated:

“The media landscape is experiencing a seismic shift in storytelling, audience, immediacy and platforms. Vice is connecting with an entire generation in a way that no else is and Verizon will connect consumers to Vice in a way that no one else does by combining Vice’s storytelling with the most compelling mobile video platform.”

Vice’s co-president, James Schwab agreed:

“Partnering with Verizon allows us to bring some of the best new Vice video to millions of new mobile viewers across America. It’s part of our commitment to push the boundaries of video distribution across all platforms; mobile is key to the emerging brave new world of video distribution, and with deals like this we are making sure we are staying at the bleeding edge of innovation in that space.”

The company’s advertisers include companies like Levi’s, Intel, and Google. All have also created branded content with the network.

Previous to the deal with Verizon, Vice’s advertizing content had run on a variety of platforms including YouTube, reports AdWeek.

Verizon Wireless Store Photo via Shutterstock


Local education partnership names new executive director


Pam Gould



By Amelia Harper
Staff Writer

Friday, December 30, 2016

After a year without a director, the Strategic Twin Counties Education Partnership has a new executive director.

Pam Gould recently accepted the post with the organization, commonly known as STEP.  Gould said that STEP, which began in 2012, operates as a collaboration of Twin Counties educational institutions, businesses, industries and community leaders who come together with one goal in mind: to improve the economic competitiveness of the region by increasing educational opportunities that lead to real-world jobs in the Twin Counties.

“Not everyone needs a four-year college degree,” Gould said. “There are great jobs in this area, especially in the field of advanced manufacturing. People just need to know how to prepare for them.”

Gould said she feels that this position is the perfect fit for her unique skill set. She earned a master’s degree in education from East Carolina University and has worked in the field of education for 30 years. Most of those years were spent working in Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, Edgecombe County Public Schools, Edgecombe Community College and Nash Community College.

“As STEP director, I am working with the business community as well as the two school superintendents and the two college presidents. All of these people are great to work with and are fully behind our goals. I feel that all of these groups have been at the same place at the same time but rarely sit at the same table to seek solutions. This is what we are trying to do.”

Gould recently retired as the director of college and career readiness at Nash Community College before assuming the position of executive director of STEP. However, she said her years serving in various positions directed at preparing students for jobs will pay dividends to the community as she steps into this new role.

“I feel that I have worked my whole life preparing for this opportunity,” Gould said.

Gould said the board of directors of STEP will be holding a retreat in January to plan for the future of the program.

“We are really trying to focus our goals and avoid duplicating the efforts of other programs that are already in place,” Gould said.

Gould sees connecting with students and their parents as a big part of her mission.

“What I see is a big disconnect. Middle school students should be choosing elective courses that connect with high school electives on a pathway that leads to great jobs,” she said. “However, a lot of times, students choose courses that seem easiest or the most fun and don’t see the end result. Parents often step back and let middle and high school students make their own decisions about courses, when this is really the time they need guidance about what pathway to choose. These are not “fluff” electives. Students can really make a wise investment in the end if they choose wisely.”

Gould said she welcomes the chance to serve the Twin Counties in her new role.

“I am honored and excited to have this opportunity with STEP,” she said. “I look forward to working collaboratively to address barriers to educational success and showcase the positives happening everyday in our schools and community.”