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Texas Governor Abbott Launches New Texas Space Commission

By Abbey Weltman | March 27, 2024

Texas Governor Greg Abbott launches Texas Space Commission

Texas Governor Greg Abbott launched the new Texas Space Commission this week to improve the state’s position in the national space industry. Abbott also announced inaugural members of the commission’s board of directors and the Texas Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium (TARSEC) executive committee during an event at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on Tuesday, March 26.

The Texas Space Commission aims to pursue space exploration and commercial aerospace opportunities in the state of Texas, including aeronautics, and aviation industries. The commission will also administer the Space Exploration and Aeronautics Research Fund to provide grants. 

“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. 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. Texas is the launchpad for Mars, innovating the technology that will colonize humanity’s first new planet,” said Governor Abbott.

He referenced Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas, where SpaceX is developing the Starship rocket with the aim of flying it to Mars in the future.

“This past session, the Texas Legislature dedicated important funding and resources that will support Texas’ competitive edge in civil, commercial and military aerospace opportunities and further space exploration,” said Dade Phelan, speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

The commission is governed by a nine-member board of directors including general manager of Starbase at SpaceX and former NASA official Kathy Lueders and the vice president of Exploration Systems for Boeing, John Shannon. 

Separately, TARSEC plans to adopt research opportunities to further integrate space, aeronautics, astronautics, and aviation industries into the Texas economy. TARSEC is governed by an executive committee of representatives from each higher education institution in the state. The committee will aim to provide funding and research recommendations to the Texas Space Commission

Its six-member executive committee includes CEO of Firefly Aerospace Bill Weber, and the CEO of CesiumAstro, Shey Sabripour. Both Firefly and CesiumAstro are headquartered in Texas.