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The Lone Star State Advances Toward the Final Frontier

Last week, TAB joined the Texas Lyceum’s Mission Control: Texas’ Leadership in Space, Technology, and Innovation Conference in Houston, featuring a lineup of distinguished speakers and panelists including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senator Carol Alvarado, Houston Mayor John Whitmire and Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp. All of these leaders echoed one common sentiment: the time for Texas to reach for the stars is now.


Rooted in our historic partnerships with NASA, Texas has made immense strides in supporting the growth and development of the space industry. Houston, known as Space City, stands as a testament to this progress. The Johnson Space Center alone generates a substantial $118.7 million in economic impact annually, supports 1,710 jobs, and contributes $53.7 million in personal income to the region. Statewide, NASA operations account for over 40,000 jobs and contribute more than $9.2 billion in economic output each year. Furthermore, institutions like Texas A&M University are at the forefront of national space research, with plans to launch a pioneering space engineering program, solidifying the notion that space exploration is undeniably the future.


As our society’s collective focus shifts towards exploration and expansion toward the final frontier, Texas must seize the opportunity to maintain its position as a leader in space innovation. This endeavor requires two crucial elements: leveraging public-private partnerships to empower private companies to create value while supporting government missions, and continuing to implement policies that foster a business-friendly environment through low taxes and minimal regulations, encouraging entrepreneurship and business growth.


A significant development in this direction occurred recently when Governor Greg Abbott announced the establishment of the Texas Space Commission at the end of March. The Commission – created last session after the passage of HB 3447, authored by Representative Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood) and Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – is designed to cement Texas’ position as a world leader in space exploration and development, while preparing the next generation of Texans to carry forward the legacy of trailblazing in human space exploration.


“Since its very inception, NASA’s Johnson Space Center has been home to manned spaceflight, propelling Texas as the national leader in the U.S. space program,” said Governor Greg Abbott. “Now, with the Texas Space Commission, our great state will have a group that is responsible for dreaming and achieving the next generation of human exploration in space…I look forward to working with the Texas Space Commission, and I thank the Texas Legislature for partnering with industry and higher education institutions to secure the future of Texas' robust space industry." 


Strategic partnerships, policies that allow innovators to thrive, and visionary leadership are essential ingredients for our continued success in the space sector. As we navigate the limitless possibilities the final frontier offers, Texas stands poised to drive economic growth, inspire scientific discovery, and solidify our status as an epicenter of innovation. We are excited to see how our great state will continue to reach new heights and redefine what is possible in the cosmos.




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