Dr. Andrew “Andy” Aldrin’s path to space expertise has always been intertwined with entrepreneurship.
His recognizable last name conjures up images of his famous father, Buzz Aldrin, but Andy’s space path has been more grounded. In the 1980s, he traveled to the then-Soviet Union as a graduate student to study the behind-the- scenes factors that boosted that nation in the “space race.”
He says the lessons he learned then influenced how he looks at American advancement in space, including in entrepreneurship.
“I believe very strongly that Florida will be one of the key places for space entrepreneurship,” Aldrin said. “You have to go through Florida to get to space.”
He will present a lecture on space entrepreneurship July 12 at FIT’s Center for Aviation and Innovation located at 1050 West NASA Blvd. in Melbourne.
The presentation is part of the Florida Institute of Technology’s Lifelong Scholar Society lecture series. Throughout the year, 18 different lectures take place on select Thursday nights, followed by an open discussion on the topic at hand. Other topics in the series include virtual reality technology, hurricane science and forecasts and how human factors affect safety.
Now an associate professor at FIT, Aldrin’s office has memorabilia from his father’s space feats, including a mold of a print created from his dad’s moon boots. Photos on the walls document space firsts alongside family trips to the Galapagos Islands.
Aldrin is a driving force behind a new space entrepreneurship program that will come to the Space Coast in the summer of 2019.
The Aldrin Space Institute for Florida Tech’s graduate-level summer study program is designed to give up-and-coming space entrepreneurs the right footing to get their ideas off the ground. The six-week program will be open to graduate students in all fields of study, but Aldrin expects that most students will have an engineering or business management background.
“The goal of that program is to create dynamic leaders for the companies already here and to also turn new space ideas into business,” Aldrin said.
For those interested in hearing Dr. Aldrin’s July 12 lecture, The Lifelong Scholar Society costs $40 for a year’s membership and includes occasional dinner celebrations. For more information on joining the society, visit www.fit.edu/lifelong-scholar-society or call 321-674-8382,