NASA’s Johnson Space Center was recently involved in two major announcements with important implications for the future of space exploration and the aerospace industry.

On Feb. 29, 2024, NASA announced that the American Center for Manufacturing and Innovation (ACMI) signed an agreement to become a tenant at Johnson’s 240-acre Exploration Park. ACMI will lease a portion of the underutilized land to develop a Space Systems Campus that enables commercial and defense space manufacturing. The campus will incorporate an applied research facility partnered with multiple stakeholders across academia, state and local government, the Department of Defense, and regional economic development organizations.

NASA signed a separate lease with the Texas A&M University System earlier this year. Both agreements represent key achievements for Johnson’s Dare | Unite | Explore, with commitments focused on maintaining the center’s position as the hub of human spaceflight, developing strategic partnerships, and paving the way for a thriving space economy. 

American Center for Manufacturing and Innovation Founder and CEO John Burer shakes hands with NASA’s Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche at the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s aerospace advisory committee meeting on March 6, 2024. Photo Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

Johnson Center Director Vanessa Wyche shared the news at the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership’s aerospace advisory committee meeting on March 6, emphasizing the agreement’s value to NASA, the State of Texas, and the nation. “At JSC, we have a vision to dare to expand frontiers and unite with our partners to explore for the benefit of all humanity. Today’s announcement is a significant component of bringing that vision to fruition,” she said. “The future of Texas’ legacy in aerospace is bright as Exploration Park will create an unparalleled aerospace, economic, business development, research and innovation region across the state.”

Texas’ role in space exploration and aerospace development was also highlighted during Governor Greg Abbott’s visit to Johnson on March 26. Abbott toured the Mission Control Center and spoke to native Texan and NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara aboard the International Space Station before joining Wyche and other state leaders to announce the launch of the Texas Space Commission and the Texas Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium. Speaking to media in Johnson’s Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, Abbott said that these new entities will promote innovation in the fields of space exploration and commercial aerospace, including by identifying research and development opportunities. 

“We are so excited for what the Texas Space Commission will bring to the state of Texas and the flourishing aerospace industry here,” said Wyche. “With continued investment in the region, the Texas economy will benefit significantly from the ancillary job creation and growth resulting from new aerospace companies in the state.”

Several former NASA employees were named to the Commission’s inaugural board of directors and the Consortium’s first executive committee. They include Kathy Lueders, John Shannon, Kirk Shireman, Matt Ondler, Robert Ambrose, Brian Freedman, and former astronauts Nancy Currie-Gregg and Jack “2fish” Fischer.

Read More – NASA