WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) visited the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC) last week to tour and discuss the role of the facilities in the future of space exploration. Sen. Moran is a senior member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which has oversight over NASA.
“I appreciated learning more about the priorities and missions of NASA and discussing ways to advance STEM education and opportunities in the aerospace industry for Kansas research institutions and manufacturers,” Sen. Moran said. “Thanks to JSC Deputy Director Mark Geyer, Kevin Templin and the space center team for the opportunity to visit their impressive facilities.”
Joining Sen. Moran on the tour was Wichita State University Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer and National Institute for Aviation Research Executive Director Dr. John Tomblin. Wichita State serves as the lead institution on the Kansas Space Grant Consortium.
“I was pleased to join Senator Moran to tour NASA’s first class facilities at the Johnson Space Center,” Dr. John Tomblin said. “Wichita State is proud to partner with NASA, enabling WSU students to have direct involvement in NASA projects through the Jump Start program and helping to advance research and education in the aviation and space industries. I appreciated the opportunity to share my thoughts on the benefits of the program and NIAR’s role in R&D in Kansas with those at the Space Center, and I am thankful for Senator Moran’s leadership in protecting STEM education and learning opportunities for students beginning their careers in the aerospace industry.”
During the visit, Sen. Moran visited with a number of Kansans, including Anthony Williams of Murdock, Kan. Serving as an intern this semester at JSC, Anthony is a Kansas State University senior double-majoring in physics and digital media.
Also at JSC from the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson were President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Remar and Director of Information Technology Jack Graber. The Cosmosphere was recently selected for participation in the renovation of the Mission Operations Control Room exhibit at JSC, set to be unveiled for the 50th anniversary of the first steps by man on the moon in 2019. The only Smithsonian-affiliated museum in Kansas, the Cosmosphere claims the Apollo 13 command module among its 13,000 spaceflight artifacts – the largest collection in the world.
As the leader and originator in human space flight, JSC’s mission has expanded to pursue more distant “deep space” explorations, with new spacecraft known as Orion that will carry Americans into these challenging new frontiers. Manufacturing suppliers for the Orion program include 10 Kansas companies.
On March 21, 2017, Congress passed into law the NASA Transition Authorization Act, providing stability for NASA to sustain and build upon existing national space investments designed to advance space exploration and science.