The National Aeronautics and Space Administration wants Boston to be the site of its proposed $60 million electronics research center, it was announced Friday.
In making the announcement, NASA administrator James E. Webb said:
"The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, virtually within a stone's throw of one another, provide a basic core of the highest quality of advanced research, scholarship and training in the scientific fields of primary interest."
Although the proposal to locate the center in Boston still faces some opposition in the House Space Committee, NASA's recommendation is expected eventually to receive final Congressional approval. The center would create about 22,000 new jobs in Boston.
The most likely spot for the center is a plot of land between the Massachusetts Toll Road extension and Cambridge St., on the southeast bank of the Charles River. This plot is located about one mile south of the University.
Reportedly, several members of the Corporation, including Charles A. Coolidge '17, have been actively interested in securing the space center for Boston. NASA officials have not as yet formally approached any members of the Faculty to work with scientists at the center.
Fred L. Whipple, professor of Astronomy, said yesterday the choice of Boston for the space center was "wonderful." He added that while "it is still too early to work out any plans," he expects the space center to be in "close contact" with scientists affiliated with the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
Harvey Brooks, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Dean of Engineering and Applied Physics, said he anticipates no formal relations between the NASA center and the University.
Brooks said that the center's usefulness to Harvard would lie in improving the general environment of the Boston area.
Location of the space center in Boston would constitute a political victory for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54, who campaigned in 1962 on a platform of bringing new industry to Massachusetts. Kennedy, who will run for re-election this year, was aided by Sen. Leverett Saltonstall '14 in the fight to get the center for Boston.