COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State University will be home to a first-of-its-kind science park, one dedicated solely to space research.
“This kind of all goes back to the desire of NASA to commercialize research in space,” said OSU professor Dr. Scott Shearer. Ohio State was chosen by Colorado-based space technology company Voyager Space as the home of its George Washington Carver Science Park.
He might be in an empty classroom now, but Shearer is excited about what the future holds for the partnership.
“We have to begin thinking about really two things, research for human life in space but we’re also thinking about what we learn on orbit that we can bring to Earth, and improve the situation here on Earth,” said Shearer.
That research includes water quality, health of animals and crop genetics.
“We’re in a greenhouse complex so natural sunlight, but also supplemental lighting. And then also the gas levels. We look at CO2 enrichment,” said Shearer.
Shearer, who serves as chair of the Department of Food, Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Ohio State, said historically, when you think about space-based research, you think of NASA.
But he envisions operations to be different for this project.
“Private sector will be looking to obviously bring cost down and make this a more economic proposition for those desiring to do research in space,” said Shearer.
Shearer said the Science Park will start research operations at a couple of locations on Ohio State’s campus starting in 2023
And by 2025 or 2026, a permanent structure is expected to be built at The Ohio State University Airport.
Shearer said the Voyager Space partnership will be a great recruitment tool for prospective Ohio State students.
“We think about engineers being the primary people interested in this, but really it’s broad spectrum, it’s across the university. Agriculture research complex on the Waterman Farm, there’s a lot of parallels between what’s going on in terms of plant growth within this facility and what would be happening on orbit in space,” said Shearer.
Voyager Space hopes to create 50 full-time jobs in Ohio, generating nearly $6 million in new annual payroll.
The salaries of those 50 full-time jobs at the George Washington Carver Science Park are expected to be over $100,000 per year.
Recently the Ohio Tax Authority awarded a 2% tax credit on payroll created by the Voyager Space project over the next 10 years.