NASA continues to partner with institutions across the Houston area as it seeks to build a private sector skilled workforce locally to support the development of space technologies.

The Ion, Houston’s innovation hub located at 4201 Main St., Houston, on July 14 announced a new relationship with NASA’s Johnson Space Center creating a technology transfer center with the goal that it fosters local entrepreneurs' and startups' opportunities to share ideas and intellectual property with NASA.

“This partnership will allow us to increase startups through our aerospace accelerator targeting minority businesses and help achieve NASA’s goals to enhance scientific and technological knowledge to benefit all of humankind as we propel commercialization of space and work to land the first woman and first person of color on the moon under Artemis,” Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche said in a news release.

Johnson Space Center will also be working with Rice University as a part of The Ion partnership. NASA is aiming to develop spinoff technologies, grow minority entrepreneurs, and accelerate innovative and tech-forward solutions in Houston as it prepares for its future missions to the moon and beyond, Wyche said.

The new partnership announcement comes less than a month removed from the launch of collaborations with the University of Houston System, Axiom Space and Collins Aerospace.

According to the news release, NASA and The Ion will focus part of their efforts on minority businesses and entrepreneurs in the aerospace and technology fields, which includes The Ion’s Aerospace Innovation Accelerator for Minority Business Enterprises.

“NASA’s Johnson Space Center has led the U.S. and the world on an ongoing journey of human exploration, and the Ion is here to accelerate tomorrow’s space endeavors,” The Ion Executive Director Jan Odegard said in the release.

NASA and The Ion will open applications for interested startups and entrepreneurs in fall 2022 for programming that will run through mid-2023, according to the release. NASA will support the accelerator and its participants by providing mentors and subject matter experts and ongoing advice at The Ion’s monthly startup competitions and showcases.

“Together our Ion community of startups, entrepreneurs and academic institutions, across industries and disciplines—from health care to sports, to e-commerce to resiliency—is the perfect place for human performance and for NASA to derive talent,” Odegard said.