By Mary Alys Cherry
The Houston Technology Center and Johnson Space Center have formally opened the new office established at JSC through the partnership they formed – a partnership to enhance opportunities to accelerate the growth of emerging technology industries.
Two new clients are already at work at the new center – Chris Shiver, who has teamed up with veteran astronaut Scott Parazynski and Clark Thompson to form Dreamsaver Enterprises and develop Shiver’s concept of a fireproof safe that can withstand extreme heat, and Chandah, a new commercial space firm that focuses on small satellites.
By opening JSC facilities and resources to outside partnerships, JSC Director Mike Coats said the space agency hopes to find areas of common interest where both parties can help each other foster new technologies that not only improve life here on Earth, but also paves the way for future human explorations in space.
“This partnership,” he said as he welcomed the crowd to the opening ceremonies, “will provide an enabling environment where commercial capabilities can develop at the Johnson Space Center. Increasing business opportunities through sustainable technologies not only boosts the entrepreneurial spirit of the region, but contributes to the local economy.”
Coats also introduced HTC President and CEO Walter Ulrich. Other speakers included State Rep. John Davis, chairman of the Texas House Economic Development Committee; and Tom Gros, president of NRG Solutions.
The HTC president said his company is committed to growing a sustainable entrepreneurial network that will benefit the Bay Area for years to come. Ulrich also noted that HTC will seed the future workforce through its close ties with major universities and with STEM programs and objectives.
By establishing a fully staffed satellite facility at JSC, HTC expects to harness the technical know-how and provide business advice, while leveraging the incredible technologies, capabilities and expertise found in the JSC community with the commercial industry – and, in the process, create thousands of high technology jobs and possibly a billion dollars of annual economic activity.
“We are excited to partner with NASA’s Johnson Space Center in an effort to foster entrepreneurial opportunities to the transitioning workforce in the Bay Area. The combination of NASA’s incredible technologies and HTC powerful entrepreneurial resources presents the potential for immense economic development, Ulrich said.
“We want to keep these brilliant minds here and help them create new commercial ventures leveraging their unique expertise.”