News Provided by YTexas
February 22, 2021

Already home to 500-plus aerospace companies, Houston’s commercial spaceport at Ellington Airport recently finished phase one of its development by installing infrastructure on 150 acres of land. The facility has landed companies like Intuitive Machines, which has a NASA contract to become the first private US company to land spacecraft on the moon. The Houston Spaceport continues to seek more partners to operate from its headquarters, designed not only as a facility for launching spacecraft but also as a hub for innovation and collaboration.

“We are talking to a number of other companies—I’m not at liberty to discuss them—in manufacturing of space components and even aviation products of aircraft,” Diaz said. “A number of universities are working with us on building an aerospace technical training center,” including Texas A&M, the University of Houston, and Texas Southern University.

And Johnson Space Center (JSC) is seeking commercial partners to help it pursue missions where astronauts live and operate on other celestial bodies -including Mars, eventually.

Known as mission control for the first moon landing, JSC is now working on the Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.

That mission will include seeking water, building a sustainable base, and investigating the Moon’s mysteries, according to Nicholas Skytland, Deputy Chief of JSC’s Exploration Technology Office.

“Technology really drives exploration,” Skytland said at the Summit. “We have commercial partnerships and a lot of activity in areas like advanced propulsion systems and precision landing. How do we excavate material we find on the moon and construct habitats? How do we live in these extreme environments?”

NASA is thus looking at the design of everything from spacesuits to habitats, Skytland said. “We need these small startups that are thinking innovatively, challenging the status quo, and advancing the technology.”

NASA’s largest service provider, Jacobs, moved its headquarters to Texas about four years ago. “If you’ve never been to a rocket launch, it’s a life-changing experience,” says Jacobs’ Steve Clarke. “It will get you excited about the industry like nothing else.”