The Florida campaign for President Barack Obama announced Sunday that former astronaut Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, will campaign for the president’s reelection on Florida’s Space Coast on Monday. Jemison, according to the media advisory, will tour Advanced Magnet Lab, a small business in Palm Bay, Florida, that “embodies the importance of President Obama’s space exploration policies for Florida,” in the words of the statement. After the tour, Jemison and Mark Santi, the president of Advanced Magnet Lab, will speak to the media “to discuss how President Obama’s policies ensure that Kennedy Space Center will continue to make history as America’s spaceport during the new chapter in space exploration that our nation is embarking upon.”
While Advanced Magnet Lab may embody “the importance of President Obama’s space exploration policies for Florida,” space appears to be only a small part of its overall portfolio. The company mentions that superconducting magnets offer “many attractive attributes for space exploration”, but its space-related business appears to be limited to a contract with NASA to develop a model for high-power superconducting machines and a partnership with a NASA/JSC researcher on a NIAC grant to study the use of superconducting magnets in radiation shielding systems.
Jemison, as a NASA astronaut, flew on the STS-47 shuttle mission in 1992, her sole spaceflight. Her current activities include serving as the leader of the 100 Year Starship Initiative as part of the team that won the $500,000 grant from DARPA earlier this year to help start the effort.