Overheard: Experts share how Houston can lead commercial space exploration
Eavesdropping in houston
Is the Space City poised to continue its reign as an innovative hub for space exploration? All signs point to yes, according to a group of experts.
The Greater Houston Partnership hosted its annual State of Space this week. The virtual event featured a keynote address from Vanessa Wyche, director of NASA Johnson Space Center, and a panel moderated by David Alexander, chair of aerospace and aviation committee at the GHP and the director of the Rice Space Institute.
The conversations focused on the space innovation activity happening in Houston, as well as an update on the industry as a whole has space commercialization continues to develop. All the speakers addressed how Houston has what it takes to remain a hub for the sector.
"The future looks very bright for Houston that we will remain a leader in Houston spaceflight," Wyche says in her address.
Here are a few other memorable moments from the event.
"Houston, I feel, is poised to be a leader. We have led in human space flight, and we will a leader in commercialization."
— Wyche says in her keynote address, which gave a thorough overview of what all NASA is working on at JSC. She calls out specifically how startups are a driving force in commercialization. JSC is working with local accelerator programs at The Ion and MassChallenge.
"These startups help us to connect to tomorrow's space innovation leaders, and gives our team the opportunity to mentor these entrepreneurs as we work to advance both our scientific and technical knowledge," she says.
"The ability to have a place where government, academia, and industry can come together and share ideas and innovation is incredibly powerful."
— Steve Altemus, president and CEO of Intuitive Machines LLC, specifically talking about the Houston Spaceport, where Intuitive Machines has signed on as a tenant. Altemus adds that a major key to leading space commercialization is a trained workforce, which the spaceport is focused on cultivating.
"We shouldn't discount the character that Houston has from the standpoint as a great place to build a business."
— Tim Kopra, vice president of robotics and space at MDA Ltd., says, adding that Houston is a big city that feels like a small town. "We need to incentivize companies to come and stay," he says.
"Great cities — like great companies — understand that if you're still, you're probably moving backwards. ... I think Houston gets it in that regard."
— Todd May, senior vice president of science and space at KBR, says, adding that Houston realizes it needs to be on the offensive side to bring innovation to the game, positioning the city very well for the future.