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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.2 Million to Support Innovation and the Development of a Space Industry Cluster in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $1.2 million to the University of Texas at Brownsville. The EDA investment will help build a high-tech business incubation facility that will spur new business development associated with the region’s growing space industry cluster, according to the grantee.

“The Obama Administration and the Commerce Department are committed to strengthening American innovation, which helps keep us competitive in the 21st century economy,” said Secretary Pritzker. “The EDA investment announced today will help the University of Texas at Brownsville establish a high-tech business incubator that will partner with higher education, research, economic development, and commercialization organizations to make the Lower Rio Grande Valley region more competitive in the emerging space exploration industry.”

In August of 2014, Space X announced its intent to construct a spaceport in South Texas near Brownsville. The Spacecraft Tracking and Astrophysical Research into Gigahertz Astronomical Transient Emission (STARGATE) complex will be the world's first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions. According to the grantee, the region is perfectly positioned for the development of a STARGATE complex, which also includes a high-tech business incubation facility. The University's facility would give entrepreneurs access to technical assistance necessary to facilitate and accelerate the development of existing and potential businesses. EDA’s investment will build out internal sections of the building such as radio frequency labs, classrooms, incubator offices, warehouse space, and outdoor radio systems. The grantee anticipates this project will result in a dramatic increase in available higher wage jobs for the local economy and create a space industry cluster for the region.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.