Texas Unveils its Space Commission, Names Board

Image: Office of the Texas Governor

The Texas Space Commission announced its inaugural board of directors yesterday at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which includes a who’s who of industry and academia. 

Introducing the Lone Star-studded board:

  • Gwen Griffin, executive director of Club for the Future
  • Kathy Lueders, SpaceX’s Starbase GM
  • John Shannon, VP of exploration systems at Boeing
  • Sarah Duggleby, CEO of Venus Aerospace
  • Kirk Shireman, VP of lunar exploration campaign at Lockheed
  • Evan Loomis, co-founder of ICON
  • Heather Wilson, president of the University of Texas at El Paso
  • Nancy Currie-Gregg, director of the Texas A&M Space Institute
  • Brad Morrison, CEO of Atlantis Industries

Texas forever: The Texas Space Commission, a legislative initiative signed into law in June, aims to boost innovation in space, aeronautics, and aviation within the state. 

“Texas will be the launch pad for Mars,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. “As we look to the future of space, one thing is clear: Those who reach for the stars do so from the Lone Star State.”

In addition to the board announcement, Abbott also unveiled a nine-person executive committee made up of representatives from Texas colleges and universities that will independently identify and recommend which research opportunities within the state receive funding. 

$350M pot: The commission is underpinned by a $350M fund to provide financial support for aerospace-related projects, research, education, and infrastructure, including:

  • Developing emerging space tech
  • Space exploration and spaceflight research 
  • Workforce training 

Most of the fund has already been allocated to Texas A&M to build a facility next to JSC, which will host mission training, robotics development, and lunar/Mars research, at a cost of $200M

Space city state: Texas, which has a long history in space, is home to a fast-growing new space community, including numerous launch companies. The state reports that there are now 1,800 aerospace companies and 150,000 aerospace jobs in Texas.

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