Salisbury Chamber: Wallops poised for more high-tech growth

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The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its socially distanced March General Membership Luncheon, featuring David Pierce, Director of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Fifty people attended the event at Green Hill Country Club in Quantico, and were served a delicious lunch while overlooking the Wicomico River.

Pierce provided a comprehensive overview of the myriad of activities taking place on the base. The base employs nearly 300 civil servants, more than 800 NASA contractors and 600 tenant personnel from the U.S. Navy, NOAA, Virginia Space, Rocket Lab and the U.S. Coast Guard.

With 6,092 employees, an annual budget of $335 million and an economic impact of $1.37 billion, NASA/Wallops is a unique and impressive Delmarva asset.

Pierce shared Wallops’ five-year strategy, including the development of new and improved suborbital/orbital capabilities.

The facility will also be promoting more government-private sector partnerships, enabling new lines of access to space using emerging commercial nano-launch capabilities and supporting increased orbital lunch models -- including monthly launches to low-Earth orbital constellations.

“NASA Wallops continues to grow a diverse workforce in support of ‘New Space’ Commercial Space markets for NASA and National Defense,” Pierce said.

Community outreach to integrate more STEM opportunities for shore educational assets are a part of the NASA Wallops core mission.

Programs including Virginia Space Coast Scholars, Community College Faculty Workshops, NANA Community College aerospace Scholars, internships and Education Launch Forums are just a small sampling of this initiative.

The next Antares space station resupply mission is slated for July 1.

“Chincoteague should be thrilled by the date and crowds that gather to watch the launch,” he said.

April luncheon

The SACC April General Membership Luncheon will be held on April 15 at 11:30 a.m. at Dove Pointe in Salisbury.

The featured speaker will be Randy Day, CEO of Perdue Farms, who will discuss the current state of agriculture and how it affects the poultry industry.

This will be a socially distanced event and masks are required while not seated. Tickets are $25 for members, $35 for future members. Register at salisburyarea.com.