TAMU Board of Regents approves Space Institute and $200 million A&M facility in Houston

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Friday, August 18, 2023
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COLLEGE STATON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas A&M University System's Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Texas A&M Space Institute and the development of a Texas A&M facility near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston Wednesday.

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The board's decision follows the Texas Legislature's $350 million investment. State Rep. Greg Bonnen, who leads the House Appropriations Committee, introduced House Bill 3447 earlier this year, which established the Texas Space Commission, the Space Exploration and Aeronautics Research Fund, and the Texas Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium.

The bill also includes $200 million for A&M to build the facility at the Johnson Space Center. The goal of the Houston resource is to guarantee that Texas stays a leader in space exploration. Scientists and other staff will assist mission training, aeronautics research, sophisticated robotics, and work on lunar and Martian exploration at the site.

The institute's objective entails extending Texas' status as a leader in the emerging space economy. It would use Texas A&M's current knowledge and resources to produce new discoveries, technical advancements, health breakthroughs, and workforce expansion. It will rely on collaborations between public and commercial institutions from around the country in a range of industries.

"The Texas A&M Space Institute will make sure the state expands its role as a leader in the new space economy," John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M System, said. "No university is better equipped for aeronautics and space projects than Texas A&M."

A&M students, staff, and researchers are now working on over 300 space-related projects. NASA and other government organizations, as well as grants from the commercial space industry, have made competitive funding awards to Texas A&M. For the last five years, they have topped $25 million every year.

More than 12 colleges/schools of Texas A&M University in College Station do interdisciplinary space-related research, while other System universities, including Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, have subject matter specialists in space-related research.

Texas A&M University, a Space Grant institution, has four astronauts on its faculty. Texas A&M scientists and engineers also have participated in every NASA rover missions to Mars, with two scientists now serving on NASA's Perseverance Rover Team. Additionally, about 280 teachers and researchers from Texas A&M University, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research take part in space-related research.