Rice NASAversary!

Waxing Gibbous Moon 69 Percent 26Nov2009
Creative Commons License photo credit: mikebaird

Today’s post is from Dr. David Alexander, Rice Professor of Physics and Astronomy and creator of the Space Frontiers Lecture series. 

This has not been a good year for the space enthusiasts of Houston with the cancelation of the Constellation program, the end of an era with the last space shuttle flight, and the decision not to have one of the orbiters spend its retirement in Houston.

However, the people of Houston are known for rising to any challenge and the opportunity to enter a new phase of space exploration with the development of the multi-passenger crew vehicle, the continued operation of the International Space Station, and the push to maintain an American presence in space only emphasizes the importance of Houston and NASA to the nation.

Houston has been at the forefront of the human space adventure for five decades and this is a record worth celebrating.  Come join us in acknowledging the people whose dedication, excellence, and ingenuity put humans on the Moon (and brought them back again), created the “world’s greatest flying machine” in the Space Shuttle, and stimulated the imaginations of generations of would-be space explorers.

Welcome to a new and exciting year in the history of Rice University.

The 2011 incoming class is the 100th to walk through Rice’s historic Sallyport and the next year will see us work towards our centennial celebrations in October 2012.  Another major anniversary for Rice and the Greater Houston area is marked this September as we celebrate 50 years of the NASA Johnson Space Center and we are proud to note that Rice was there at the beginning.  September 14 marks the 50th anniversary of NASA Administrator James E. Webb’s decision, conveyed in person to President Kennedy, to build the NASA Manned Space Center in Houston (later to be named the Johnson Space Center) on land that was deeded to the government by Rice.  The public announcement of the location was made on September 19, 1961 and the manned space program made its home in Houston.

To celebrate a remarkable 50 years in human history, Rice and partners are hosting the Rice NASAversary, a week-long set of events from September 9 to 16.

To open the Rice NASAversary celebrations Rice will host Space City 2020, a space strategy workshop bringing together local academic, business, and government leaders to promote space technology and exploration. The culmination of the workshop will be a banquet with keynote speaker Dr. France Cordova, president of Purdue University and former NASA Chief Scientist.  The banquet is open to the public.

We celebrate our 50 years of connection to JSC on Wednesday, September 14, with the first in this year’s Space Frontiers Lecture Series

We are honored to host Mr. Norm Augustine, Chairman of the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee.  Among many honors and awards, Mr. Augustine has been named one of the “Fifty Great Americans,” has received the National Medal of Technology from the President of the United States, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Public Service Award and is five-time recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal from the U. S. Department of Defense.  The “Augustine Report”, the 155-page output from the United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, is a comprehensive and critical assessment of the US human space flight program and what is needed to maintain American leadership in space.

Mr. Augustine’s talk, entitled The Greatest Obstacle to Human Space Travel, will be held at the McMurtry auditorium in Duncan Hall at 7pm on September 14 (reception at 6:30pm).

2 thoughts on “Rice NASAversary!

  1. Great story!

    For some reason, when I posted it to my facebook, the headline got cut short to “Rice celebrates 50th anniversary of NASA.” I hope that can be corrected to reflect “NASA Johnson Space Center,” since NASA as an agency began in 1958. Wouldn’t want to confuse people.

  2. Hi Greg, First – thanks for sharing the post! We have made that correction to the title, so it should show properly now for anyone else who tries to do the same thing. Thanks for your comment!

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