Sen. Cruz: The Johnson Space Center Will Continue to Grow With the Exciting Future of Manned Space Exploration

Yesterday I applauded NASA's announcement that Lockheed Martin has been awarded the Orion Production and Operations Contract (OPOC), for which NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, will be responsible for overseeing. Spacecraft production for the Orion program will focus on reusability and building a sustainable presence on the lunar surface.

This is a great day for the men and women at Johnson Space Center. They are crucial to our national space program, and have an undeniable legacy and record of success in advancing America's leadership in the human exploration of space. I am pleased that Administrator Bridenstine has heeded my calls and is taking significant steps to ensure that Johnson continues to grow with the exciting future of manned exploration that lies ahead. More needs to be done, and I look forward to production ramping up in the weeks and months to come and to more opportunities with NASA.

"This contract secures Orion production through the next decade, demonstrating NASA's commitment to establishing a sustainable presence at the Moon to bring back new knowledge and prepare for sending astronauts to Mars," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "Orion is a highly-capable, state-of-the-art spacecraft, designed specifically for deep space missions with astronauts, and an integral part of NASA's infrastructure for Artemis missions and future exploration of the solar system."

"As the only vehicle capable of deep space exploration, the Orion spacecraft is critical to America's continued leadership," Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said. "Today's announcement signals that we are moving closer towards operation and production. While I look forward to learning more of the details, it's encouraging to see that this program is moving along as it should be. I am proud of the Orion program team and contractor partners at Johnson Space Center as they move towards getting the vehicle ‘flight ready.' Without the brilliant minds and extraordinary leadership of the hard-working men and women at Johnson, our country would not be the preeminent spacefaring nation in the world."

"The men and women at Johnson Space Center represent the best and brightest scientific minds, and I'm confident with additional Orion spacecraft they will push the limits of exploration to the Moon and beyond," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. "I commend the Trump Administration for recognizing the importance and tradition of Houston as the center of human spaceflight and exploring the next frontier."

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