UCF is home to NASA’s Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (referred to as CLASS), thanks to a $6 million grant awarded to UCF physics Professor Daniel Britt.
The research center puts UCF on the agency’s space-exploration map. CLASS will provide critical research in areas that NASA has identified as key to future robotic and human space-exploration missions. CLASS was one of nine organizations selected under NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute program.
“This makes UCF a leader in the area of solar system exploration,” Britt says. “The center will bring together a group of world-class researchers to create a one-stop shop of scientific expertise, supporting NASA’s exploration goals. CLASS makes Central Florida integral to NASA’s exploration future.”
Britt will lead the center, which also involves 15 lead researchers from UCF, Kennedy Space Center, other NASA centers and universities around the nation, in addition to 23 collaborating researchers from the U.S. and four other nations.
“CLASS is a big win for Central Florida,” says Ray Lugo, director of the Florida Solar Institute and a former deputy program manager of the Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. “NASA recognizes our space science achievements and the leadership potential of UCF and FSI for their exploration programs.”
“This is a significant win for Florida and UCF,” says Frank DiBello, president and CEO of Space Florida. “It is a major step in the continuing diversification and growth of space exploration research in Florida universities.”