Culberson Urges NASA to Establish Lunar Lander Program at Johnson Space Center
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative John Culberson (TX-07), Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS), issued the following statement about a letter he recently led with U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) and U.S. Representatives Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Brian Babin (TX-36) urging NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to ensure Houston’s Johnson Space Center will establish and lead the next lunar lander program.
“As a third-generation Houstonian and Chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, I’m laser focused on giving NASA record levels of funding to lift America’s space program above and beyond the glory days of Apollo.
“The Johnson Space Center (JSC) plays a critical role in ensuring America’s leadership in space. It’s been NASA’s main center for human space flight for more than half a century, and there is no better place for a program that will once again land Americans on the moon than JSC.
“I’m honored to work with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to fulfill this dream, and I urge him to formally establish the lunar lander program at JSC so that NASA can place American boots on the Moon and Mars within the next 20 years.”
August 28, 2018
The Honorable James F. Bridentstine
President Trump’s Space Policy Directive-1 instructs NASA to "[l]ead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities." To further this goal, NASA issued solicitation number NNH18-AES-LSTC-RFI, which expresses interest in the “development of domestic lunar lander capabilities that would evolve to meeting the identified performance towards human-class landers.”
We support NASA’s focus on returning to the moon and using it as part of a stepping stone approach to place American boots on the surface of Mars in the 2030’s. As NASA reviews solicitations for lunar landers, we write to express our strong support for the establishment of NASA’s lunar lander program at the Johnson Space Center.
The Johnson Space Center has served as NASA’s lead center for human spaceflight for more than half a century. As NASA highlights, the Johnson Space Center is the nucleus of our nation’s astronaut corps, home to the International Space Station mission operations, the Orion crew and a host of future space developments which includes enhancing technological and scientific knowledge to benefit all of human kind.
While the Marshall Space Flight Center specializes in rocketry and spacecraft propulsion and the Kennedy Space Center serves as NASA’s primary launch center, it is without question that the Johnson Space Center is ground zero for human space exploration. “Houston” was one of the first words ever uttered on the surface of the moon and it is only fitting that the city that last sent man to the moon will be the lead in developing the lander that will once again send Americans to the lunar surface.
Given the Johnson Space Center’s storied history, mission, and the stated goal of the lunar lander program to evolve to human-class landers, we cannot think of a better NASA Center to establish and grow the lunar lander program than the Johnson Space Center. We stand ready to support you in this effort.