Our national defense is my number one priority, and I am very worried about the threats posed by our enemies in space, most specifically by those of China. The exploration and utilization of space not only provides us with many modern-day conveniences like cell phones, electronic banking, and the navigation systems in our cars, it also directly enables our strong national defense. Since China’s first satellite launch in 1970, the Chinese have continued to develop a world-class space exploration capability that is on track to rival our own space program in the very near future. China is now enjoying more successful space launches per year than the U.S., and their research and development for space related technologies continues to accelerate. We must leverage both private businesses and our experts at NASA and the Pentagon to maintain the advantage that we narrowly cling to today.
Our nation’s space program has always relied on private industry, and these partnerships have truly blossomed in recent years. We must leverage the vast benefits of space by pairing our public institutions like NASA with commercial businesses to take advantage of their innovative ideas and natural efficiencies.
One of these innovative commercial firms, SpaceX, has been an industry leader in commercial space exploration for many years. In fact, the SpaceX Dragon Cargo spacecraft was successfully launched this week and resupplied the International Space Station (ISS) for the nineteenth time. Even more exciting is NASA’s plan to utilize the SpaceX Dragon Crew spacecraft in 2020 to send astronauts to the ISS. Many of SpaceX’s spacecraft are tested right here in our great State of Texas, and I could not be more excited about the role Texans are playing in the future of space exploration. Public-private partnerships, like the one between NASA and SpaceX, are already changing the space industry to the benefit of our nation, while generating careers across Texas and saving money.
I am proud to know that the Texas aviation, space, and defense industry is well positioned to not only support our national objectives, but also absorb and benefit from the additional space-related research, development, and production work coming our way. Not only are many of our nation’s most innovative and cutting-edge space companies based here in Texas, NASA’s Johnson Space Center also calls our great state home. Know that I will continue to work on your behalf to make sure our nation continues to be the world’s preeminent space power through the utilization of commercial firms like SpaceX and others right here in our own backyard. Rest assured, America will dominate space, by way of Texas!