Among the Inspiration4 crew (left to right) – Chris Sembrowski, Dr. Sian Proctor, Jared Isaacman and Hayley Arceneaux — two members (Sembrowski and Isaacman) were Embry-Riddle graduates.
Start. Grow. Stay. High-Tech Business Takes Off at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
In 2022, the United States will send humans back to the Moon for the first time since 1969, when the Apollo 11 mission made its historic touchdown on the lunar surface. Florida ingenuity will be there.
Not far from where the Apollo 11 launched 53 years ago, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University researchers this year created a miniature satellite camera system to capture the first-ever third-person images of a Moon landing. While it takes the ultimate `selfie,’ the EagleCam will also test an electrostatic dust removal system, making it safer for astronauts to return to the Moon and beyond.
“We are going to be the first thing to hit the moon since the Apollo days,” said Grace Robertson, an Embry-Riddle student who helped design EagleCam, which will ride aboard Intuitive Machines’ Nova C lunar lander. With the nation’s most active spaceport at Cape Canaveral and the global space economy reaching $447 billion in 2020, according to the Space Foundation, Florida is at the epicenter of a booming industry.
Embry-Riddle, the world’s premier aviation and aerospace institution, is working to ensure that businesses start, grow and stay in Florida, promoting innovation and high-paying jobs. Embry-Riddle’s successful business platforms — from a rapidly expanding Research Park to centers of excellence focused on cybersecurity, safety, and innovation — are well-prepared to support a wide range of high-technology companies, from aviation and space to biotechnology.
Building Workforce Capacity
The global space economy is booming, and the commercial space sector, in particular, has been growing at an astonishing pace. Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates that the sector may reach more than $2.7 trillion by 2045, representing a vast economic opportunity for Florida. Ensuring a robust future space workforce will be a tall order.
Students at Embry-Riddle are eager to meet the challenge. For the first time ever, more than half of the 1,900 students in our Aerospace Engineering program are on the Astronautics (space) track. Two other space-related programs are also drawing students eager to travel to the Moon and Mars. Through the nation’s only undergraduate Aerospace Physiology degree program, Embry-Riddle is preparing future astronaut-physicians, too. Thanks to the successful Inspiration4 mission, space-related programs are bound to become even more popular: Two of the four Inspiration4 crew members were Embry-Riddle graduates.
Recruiting New Business
While Embry-Riddle builds Florida’s workforce capacity, the university also serves as a business magnet, attracting industry and government partners eager to identify timely solutions.
The recent launch of a unique global Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety made it clear that Florida is the perfect home for aerospace entrepreneurs and innovators. The new center is headed by Robert L. Sumwalt III, distinguished aviator and former chair of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Safety issues related to unmanned aerial systems, urban air mobility technologies and human-machine or machine-to-machine interfaces are examples of work to be completed by Embry-Riddle’s new Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety.
Work at the center may also encompass the safety of new technologies such as automatic taxiing, artificial intelligence solutions, and streamlined or “trajectorybased” operations. Other efforts could include safety assessments of alternative aviation fuels, the safety impacts of new training systems such as virtual and augmented reality tools, high-tech options for increasing the efficiency of safety investigations and more.
Building Aerospace Resilience
Another Embry-Riddle venture, the Center for Aerospace Resilience, will function as an applied research hub, drawing on the expertise of academia, industry and government. It will also provide a clearinghouse for best practices and serve as an incubator for small businesses and entrepreneurs working in the aero cyber ecosystem.
As connectivity and computerization accelerate, aircraft have increasingly become more interconnected and computationally intensive. Rising connectivity and computerization can dramatically enhance the efficiency of aero systems, yet they also increase the risk of compromise and catastrophic failure.
Making aero systems more resilient to cyber threats requires an intensively multidisciplinary approach. Embry-Riddle’s Center for Aerospace Resilience is integrating knowledge from IT, telecommunications, hardware and software design, safety and certification, supply chain, cyber resilience and policy sector to improve cybersecurity in a complex, global environment.
At Embry-Riddle’s Research Park, meanwhile, two-dozen companies have provided 123 high-paying jobs and 173 student internships since 2017. Research Park companies have also raised an impressive $46.7 million. One of those companies, Sensatek Propulsion Technology, is leveraging its funding to refine wireless sensor technology that increases the operational reliability and performance of jet engines and hightemperature process-flow applications.
A new Research Park facility, the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center, will soon double the amount of space available for businesses. In the Applied Aviation and Engineering Research Hangar, companies such as VerdeGo Aero are developing nextgeneration aviation systems — specifically, a hybrid power plant for electric verticaltakeoff- and-landing vehicles.
Through its effective business platforms, Embry-Riddle advances innovation that drives job creation and economic progress. By providing a high-quality education for thousands of students, Embry-Riddle is also building workforce capacity for Florida’s future.