Mixed outcome for PISCES budget

Bytemarks Cafe w/ Rob Kelso, Henk Rogers, Noah Hafner & Joan Matsukawa
We just interviewed Rob Kelso and Henk Rogers on Bytemarks Cafe to learn about PISCES and the opportunity for an aerospace industry in Hawaii. We touch on the topic of funding for PISCES during this legislative session. This press release provides some additional insight into the situation: Hawaii Legislature Approves $8.5 Million PISCES Headquarters; Rejects Funds Needed for General Operations Hilo, Hawaii – The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, or PISCES, is in an awkward financial position after lawmakers approved the purchase of an $8.5 million state-of-the-art headquarters and test facility for the agency, but declined to add $1.4 million in general funds needed to cover personnel, administrative and operations costs for the upcoming fiscal year (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016). The state-funded aerospace agency is excited and thankful for the legislative backing of a world-class, multi-purpose processing facility that can support the High Tech Development Corporation's incentive to create 80,000 new technology jobs with salaries of $80,000 by 2030. However, additional funding needed to keep the current level of operations was not appropriated, and PISCES is now working to save the agency from shutting down. “We are actively investigating funding options to allow continued operations through Fiscal Year 2016,” said Rob Kelso, PISCES Executive Director. “Otherwise, PISCES will close in early 2016, and unfortunately, that will mean we would have to cancel current and impending contracts and agreements.” Among the high-profile PISCES projects on the line is Moon RIDERS (Research Investigating Dust Expulsion Removal Systems), a program in partnership with NASA that has given Kealakehe High and `Iolani School students the opportunity to develop a historic experiment on the surface of the moon – a feat that, to the agency’s knowledge, has never been done before. Another project at risk is the “lunar sidewalk” that PISCES recently installed in Hilo, in partnership with the Hawaii County Department of Research and Development, NASA, University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Kodiak FRP Rebar. The project could pave the way for cost-saving, green alternatives for Hawaii construction, but also for the moon and Mars. Over the last two years, PISCES has not only gained interest from NASA, but from international space agencies in Japan, Canada and Europe, and from the private sector as well. “Our goal within PISCES has been to attract new aerospace industry to Hawaii, help create a high technology workforce, and provide dual-use technologies toward creating new high-technology industries in Hawaii” said Kelso. “But as it stands, the Center’s future is now in doubt.”IMG_2724