Overheard: Houston needs to strengthen infrastructure, workforce to maintain Space City status
eavesdropping in houston
In no time at all, humans will return to the moon and as they make the first spacewalks in fifty years — wearing suits designed in Houston — they will call down to earth, and only one city in the world will be named on the radio transmissions.
Houston is the Space City — but what will it take to maintain that moniker? This was a big topic of the Greater Houston Partnership's second annual State of Space event hosted on Tuesday, October 11.
A diverse and impressive panel discussed the Space City's future, the upcoming moon missions, commercializations, and more. If you missed the discussion, check out some key moments from the event.
"Houston has a significant role in all areas of Artemis."
— Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. "We have crew missions, robotic missions, and other technologies that will make up Artemis."
"The big mission we have is for Houston to remain the hub in human space flight moving forward."
— Wyche says, adding "for us to be the nexus and accelerator of research, innovation, and STEM, we need to work together for workforce development for the space economy."
"We're at a point were we can pivot to develop scalable products at a much lower cost — it really reduces the barrier of entry for commercial space partners."
— Peggy Guirgis, general manager of space systems for Collins Aerospace. "We're building in Houston because this is really an engineering hub," she adds, noting the industries and schools here that support the industry.
"Why Houston? Because of, more than anything, the sense of community."
— Steve Altemus, president and CEO of Intuitive Machines, noting the support behind building the Houston Spaceport and the existing Johnson Space Center, as well as all the other players within the space sector locally.
"At some point in the very near future we are going to land humans on the moon — the first woman on the moon, the first person of color on the moon — and we're going to say, 'Moon, Houston.' This is the only city in the world that's going to be said on those loops."
— Kate Rubins, NASA astronaut. "I feel very fortunate to be here."
"Right here in Houston — at the HoustonSpaceport, we're building a space where the Space Force can do classified work."
— Altemus says. "That's one area that I'd like to see grow."
"We need to continue to build a talent pipeline as well as generating a workforce that is able to keep pace with the rapidly growing space industry."
— Guirgis says.
"When people think about Houston, NASA has been the nexus and center of gravity, but all of Houston has been a magnet. It's a draw to come and work here."
— Rubins says. "One way to continue this is through infrastructure that's being built here — it's incredible. It's going to cement this as a place that you want to come if you're a commercial company and you want to partner with NASA, or you want to be a contractor for one of these other companies. ... And the startup scene is booming these days in Houston."
"We need to make sure that we have the world-class capabilities."
— Wyche says. "The workforce is so very important."