Abbott released his budget proposal for the 88th Legislative Session recommending that $350 million be provided for the creation of the Texas Space Commission.
The allocated funds will be used “to support the development of a coordinated strategic plan that will position Texas as a global leader in space travel, research, and technology,” stated Abbott in his budget document.
Texas has a projected $32.7 billion dollar surplus in its budget of $188.2 billion available in general revenue that can be used to fund these types of projects.
Mitrah Avini of Texas 2036, a non-partisan policy think tank, recently gave testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in support of the new commission.
“Our hope is that this $350 million allocation in the budget will further the goal of positioning Texas as a global aerospace hub and will help address some of the roadblocks to our continued leadership in space,” Avini said.
TexSpace, a Houston workforce-development organization seeking to make Texas “the space capital of the world,” released an annual report in anticipation of this new commission.
According to the report, the goal of the new commission will involve “defining and shaping national and global space efforts for the benefit of Texas, the United States, and our allies across the civil, commercial, and military ecosystem.”
Cities like Brownsville, San Antonio, Lubbock, and El Paso are targeted as strategic locations for certain aerospace capabilities and manufacturing infrastructure.
Midland-Odessa, Austin, Dallas, and Houston are also mentioned as desirable cities to assist in building this commission.
The vision for potential upcoming projects includes the creation of facilities to support U.S. Space Force and Department of Defense military space operations, a multi-launch vertical spaceport for suborbital launches, and educational programs for high school science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs and internships for doctoral fellowships.
In an interview with Texas Standard, economist Ray Perryman mentioned that the space economy currently contributes about $11 billion a year in gross product and provides about 100,000 jobs, which he says “has a significant impact.”
Texas has historically been friendly to the space industry.
The Johnson Space Center was established in 1961 in Houston, and has served as the central hub for NASA in their launch and operation of projects including the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs.
Elon Musk recently relocated both his Tesla and SpaceX corporate headquarters to Texas, has launched multiple space exploration projects, and has successfully integrated his Gambit Energy Storage company into the Texas power grid.
The 2022 Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Report from Price Waterhouse Coopers also ranked Texas the best state in the nation for the aerospace industry.
Texas and Florida have been in a space industry rivalry, with both states supporting large state and commercial investments.
Since 2007, Florida has recorded $5.9 billion in economic impact on the state economy with the creation of their own aerospace commission Space Florida.
“With companies seeking to expand space travel in coming years, continued development of the space industry in the state will ensure Texas remains at the forefront not only in the United States, but the entire world,” commented Abbott in his budget statement.
“Further investment will cement Texas as the preeminent location for innovation and development in this rapidly growing industry.”
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Cameron Abrams is a reporter for The Texan. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Tabor College and a Master’s Degree from University of the Pacific, Cameron is finishing his doctoral studies where his research focuses on the postmodern philosophical influences in education. In his free time, you will find him listening to a podcast while training for an endurance running event.