Texas A&M University will build a $200 million space facility next to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake.

The big picture

On Aug. 13, the Texas A&M board of regents approved creating the Texas A&M Space Institute.

The facility, which is being built to ensure Texas remains a leader in space exploration, will include scientists and other personnel to support mission training, aeronautics research, advanced robotics, and work on moon and Mars exploration. Texas A&M’s experts will use the facility to make new discoveries, technological advancements, health advances and workforce growth, according to a Texas A&M news release.

How we got here

State Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, authored House Bill 3447 to invest $350 million to create the Texas Space Commission, Space Exploration and Aeronautics Research Fund, and the Texas Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium.

In addition, the bill allocates $200 million to Texas A&M to construct the space institute, the release reads.

Quote of note

“The Texas A&M Space Institute will make sure the state expands its role as a leader in the new space economy,” Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said in the release. “No university is better equipped for aeronautics and space projects than Texas A&M.”

More details

Texas A&M University employs four astronauts. Scientists and engineers from the university have participated in all NASA rover missions to Mars, and two Texas A&M scientists are active on NASA’s Perseverance rover team, according to the release.

Texas A&M students and researchers are working on over 300 space-related projects.