Honors Gallery

Houston Launch and Sustained Growth of SpaceCom and Spaceport Summit

Award: State and Local Economic Development

Year: 2018

Award Type: National

NASA Johnson Space Center

NASA has a long history of technology transfer, but it has been looking for new ways to multiply its reach and to introduce its technology portfolio and needs to a diverse set of industries. In particular, the Johnson Space Center (JSC) was looking to maximize its reach to multiple industries simultaneously and to increase the potential pull from future partners versus a push from within.

Houston has been proud of its “Space City” identity, but with the end of the Space Shuttle program it was looking for a way to recapture that identity and position itself for the growing commercial space market.

Towards that end in 2011, JSC entered into a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with the largest economic development organization in the region, the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP).

Part of the agreement was to identify an event that would gather industry from within and outside the Houston region to assist with the commercialization of NASA technology and to identify technologies that could be transferred into NASA to support space exploration. In addition, the GHP was looking to expand the industry in the Houston region by either growing the commercial space industry in Houston by leveraging NASA expertise and technology, or attracting industries that could benefit from NASA technology.

SpaceCom was a new event created to introduce NASA technologies to five industries that are important to the Houston economy: energy, medical, advanced manufacturing, maritime trade and agribusiness. SpaceCom facilitated cross-industry conversations with solutions-oriented case studies, intensive roundtables, and practical sessions about how to create opportunities for technology transfer across industries.

SpaceCom’s second year featured a NASA Challenges and Solutions pavilion, where NASA shared technologies available to other industries and challenges that needed technology solutions.

At SpaceCom, connections were made, and new technology requests were initiated; however, the event’s success is best demonstrated by one example. During industry roundtable discussions about the synergy between space medicine and medicine in remote locations, it was determined that an enclosed habitat/laboratory would be essential in regions with a pandemic outbreak. As a result, the decision was made to create an SAA between Baylor College of Medicine's Global Initiatives and NASA. This agreement would facilitate the exchange of technology between the two organizations, as well as the development of additional technologies.

Contact: Steven Gonz├ílez, (281) 483-6314, [email protected]