The Houston Spaceport was front and center during this year’s Greater Houston Partnership’s annual Future of Space event, where leaders in the aerospace industry discussed how Houston is positioned to become a leading aerospace hub and continue to drive some of the world’s biggest space endeavors.
Mario Diaz, Director of Aviation for Houston Airports, Vanessa Wyche, Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and Dr. Nancy J. Currier, Director of Texas A&M Space Institute, emphasized collaboration as the key driving force of Houston’s aerospace sector. Collaboration between academia, all levels of government and the private sector.
“When it comes to the purpose that Houston Spaceport serves, I like to think of ourselves as hosts by welcoming companies and bringing more voices to the table.” Director Diaz said during the moderated conversation.
The panelists cited partnership examples that are already in place, such as the multimillion-dollar contracts between NASA and Houston Spaceport tenants, Axiom Space, Collins Aerospace, and Intuitive Machines. Additionally, the Texas Space Commission, which was established with the passing of House Bill 3447 and is working to promote the space industry in the state, is poised to receive $350 million over the next two years, with over half of those dollars invested in the Houston area through the Texas A&M Institute - a cutting-edge research and training facility being constructed next to NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
With the aerospace infrastructure already cementing Houston as a leader in the aerospace industry, education and securing an able workforce are essential to support the growing aerospace business environment. A need that was recognized in 2015 when the Houston Spaceport became the nation’s 10th FAA licensed Spaceport.
"The industry wasn't mature enough to start producing that level of commercial launches that would take 10 spaceports to do, so we decided to develop our strategy to focus on manufacturing with workforce training." Said Diaz.
Director Diaz also spoke about plans to build the Aerospace Institute at the Spaceport, which would complement the role of San Jacinto College’s EDGE Center by focusing on preparing and educating the future workforce of Houston’s promising aerospace industry.