The Alan B. Levan | NSU Broward Center of Innovation (Levan Center), is pleased to announce the conception of LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™, its bold initiative that will connect the South Florida region to the Space Coast and the national and international space networks, formally establishing South Florida as a contributing partner to the space sector. As part of its commitment to becoming a leading force in the sector, the Levan Center has tapped Andrew Aldrin, Ph.D. to become the Director of LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ beginning July 1, 2021.
Utilizing the resources of the Levan Center and NSU, the initial focus of LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ will be to promote space entrepreneurship in the South Florida region. It will do so by creating a collaborative environment in the space sector for industry, government, academia, and investors to pursue entrepreneurial and research activities for the advancement of the South Florida economy.
“The goal of LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ is to help put South Florida and NSU on the map in the space sector and to incubate and accelerate space entrepreneurship opportunities in the region,” said John Wensveen, Ph.D., NSU’s Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of Levan Center. “We are honored to have Dr. Andrew Aldrin, a renowned and seasoned veteran in the space sector, join us to launch and help catapult LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ into becoming a leader in the sector.”
As Director of LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™, Dr. Aldrin will oversee the development and strategic planning of all initiatives and programs and will focus on securing strategic industry, government, academic, and investor partnerships to drive the advancement of the space sector in South Florida. He will be instrumental in developing programming, events, and wraparound services associated with the Levan Center’s four anchor programs – Ideate, Incubate, Accelerate, and Post-Accelerate.
Dr. Aldrin brings a plethora of experience to LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ and the Levan Center. In addition to his role with LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™, he currently serves as the President of the Aldrin Family Foundation. He most recently served as the Director of the Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Institute of Technology. Dr. Aldrin has had a distinguished career in industry and government research which has included executive positions at Boeing, United Launch Alliance, and Moon Express. He was also a member of the research staff at the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Defense Analyses and is a consultant to NASA. He has served on the board of several charitable organizations, including The Secure World Foundation, Space For Humanity, Sea Space Symposium, and the Tau Zero Foundation. He holds a Ph.D. from UCLA in Political Science, an MBA from TRIUM (NYU, LSE, HEC), and an MA from George Washington University in Science, Technology and Public Policy.
“LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ will bring the entrepreneurial and financial strength of South Florida together with the strong commercial space sector in Central Florida to strengthen the position of Florida as a global leader in commercial space,” said Dr. Aldrin. “This will be a crucial contribution to the ability of Florida to become a leader in the trillion-dollar space economy of the future.”
LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ will support emerging opportunities in space entrepreneurship by providing “spacepreneurs” with infrastructure and networks to help fill the funding gap by increasing access to angel investors, venture capital, equity capital, and institutional financing. Additionally, it will support the Levan Center’s initiatives of discovering and supporting breakthrough ideation, new technologies, a talent skills pipeline, new jobs, company formation, and scaling of early-stage and young startup companies. LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ will also help fill the talent skills gap offering certifications that are in demand and will be the portal to NSU’s academic disciplines creating new opportunities to support grant and industry funded research that can be commercialized through an enhanced external network with impact locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Located in Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County, the Levan Center, a purpose-built 54,000 square foot facility, is slated to open in July 2021 in the area that occupies the top floor of the Alvin Sherman Library on the NSU campus. LEVL5: SPACE DOCK™ is one of the many initiatives that the Levan Center has established to provide a collaborative environment for industry, government, and academia to pursue entrepreneurial and research activities for the advancement of the South Florida economy.
The Levan Center’s goal is to develop, nurture and attract the talent and innovation that will propel the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County and the South Florida Region into the foremost hub in the country’s global tech and innovation ecosystem. It will concentrate on being the gateway and connector between entrepreneurs, leading companies, students, and potential investors in the region. It will offer incubator and accelerator programs for early-stage and young-startup companies; mentoring opportunities; a technology-focused makerspace; a showcase and pitch area; technology and innovation skills classes, and more.
Additional programming will include access to a purpose-built cybersecurity training range, industry certifications, specialized workshops, seminars and short courses, industry leading speakers, boot camps, pitch sessions and hackathons complemented by a thoughtfully designed co-working space for people to collaboratively develop their skills.