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University of Houston launches bigger, better agreement with Johnson Space Center

UH launches bigger, better agreement with Johnson Space Center

UH System Chancellor Renu Khator and JSC Director Vanessa Wyche
UH System Chancellor Renu Khator and JSC Director Vanessa Wyche sign an extension of a longtime partnership. Photo courtesy of University of Houston

A new partnership between a leading university and NASA is taking our Space City moniker to new heights.

The University of Houston System and Johnson Space Center have announced the expansion of a  longtime partnership for joint research, technology development, technology transfer, training and educational and outreach initiatives.

This means a system-wide effort from all schools: University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Victoria. The new initiative spans undergraduate, graduate, and joint research programs, per press materials.

At a recent event, University of Houston System chancellor Renu Khator ceremonially signed the agreement at Johnson Space Center with JSC Director Vanessa Wyche. Loren Blanchard and Richard Walker, presidents of UH-Downtown and UH-Clear Lake, respectively, also attended.

“Houston is ‘Space City,’ so it’s important for students and faculty in relevant disciplines across the UH System to have opportunities to engage in and be exposed to real world space flight-related research and technology development with NASA,” said Khator at the ceremony. “These are the kinds of projects that shape lives and create innovations for the greater good.”

To address the greater good, this partnership will encompass science, engineering, technology and business disciplines that are vital for human and robotic spaceflight missions, aerial and ground-based research, including data analytics, cybersecurity and other emerging technologies – all areas facing critical workforce shortages, a release notes. Entrepreneurship students at UH, for example, are currently working to commercialize various NASA technologies.

How does NASA benefit? Wyche noted that this agreement will “enable JSC to reduce gaps in mission relevant technology development essential for future human spaceflight missions and inspire and engage students in aeronautics, space and science.”

Not surprisingly, given their proximity, UH-Clear Lake and NASA have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship ever since the Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) was formed in 1961. UH-Downtown, meanwhile, will work with the NASA Office of STEM Engagement to target students and identify learning opportunities and provide connections to NASA’s missions and work through seminars, campus-wide open houses, classroom visits, and more.

“We are eager to partner and collaborate with the University of Houston system in vital research and technology development initiatives that will enable us to meet our nation’s exploration goals and advance human spaceflight as we work to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis,” Wyche added.