Texas Poised to be Major Player in Space Exploration

Why private space industry prefers the lone-star state.

By Rhonda FanningFebruary 9, 2015 7:42 am, ,

When you think about Texas’s role in space exploration, chances are you probably think of two things: Houston and the Johnson Space Center.

However, Texas actually has a long and rich history with space, and it might be the next major player in the future of space exploration. As private space companies like Space X compete in their own space race, Texas could have a major part to play.

The Texas Standard speaks with Rick Tumlinson, founder and chairman of the Texas Space Alliance, about Texas’s role in the future of space exploration and commercial space ventures.

“It occurred to me that if I could change the conversation in Texas about space from being about a single government space center to creating a state-wide activity that was in support of space in general, that then, maybe, the orders going to Washington would change.”

Tumlinson also says there are a number of reasons that Texas is ready to be ground zero for space activity.

“There’s an attitude here, first of all,” Tumlinson says. “There’s an attitude of risk taking – there’s an attitude of being somebody who’s going to go out on the edge and do things. There’s an attitude of respect – if you fall down, you get back up and go for it. That’s Texas.”

Tumlinson also says this ten-year period is when people will say history changed for space exploration, and Texas could be right in the middle of that.

“Just imagine ten years from now you could go down to Padre Island and not just come back with a suntan and hangover, but you would have watched a rocket fly to Mars. What does that do to the psyche of Texas, to be that place where you are the port to the solar system?”

Several factors have Texas poised to become the next space state, but Tomlinson says there are still things that could be done to guarantee it happens. In addition to tax incentives, and subsidies,  Tomlinson argues Texas needs to transform their educational system.

“You have to have an educational system that is aimed at science and technology, Tomlinson explains.” “And I know this is going to get me in trouble inTexas; you can’t have an educational system that somewhere in it retains the idea that the Earth is only 10 thousand years old, and at the same time be training the technologists and scientists of the future.”