House NASA Caucus Launch Reception
July 25, 2018
House NASA Caucus Launch Reception
AIA President and CEO Eric Fanning
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Remarks as prepared
Good evening. My name is Eric Fanning, and I am the President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. I’m pleased to welcome all of you here for the first public event of the House NASA Caucus.
As many of you know, this Caucus was established last October and it has been working largely behind the scenes in anticipation of tonight’s keynote speaker being confirmed: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. I’ve had the chance to meet Administrator Bridenstine several times now, including last week at the Farnborough Air Show, and I know the Caucus will have an enthusiastic partner in Jim.
On behalf of AIA, we’re proud to serve as a platinum sponsor of tonight’s event. I also want to thank our co-sponsors for the evening:
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics;
- The Roosevelt Group;
- MITRE Corporation;
- The Coalition for Aerospace and Science; and,
- The Space Foundation.
I also want to thank our Co-chairs: Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Representative Steve Knight of California. Thank you for your leadership. We look forward to hearing from them in a few minutes.
We’re gathered here tonight because we all believe in the importance of ensuring that NASA’s contributions to the United States are understood, recognized, and supported: from science to economics to diplomacy.
We understand we need to be active participants in ensuring NASA’s success, working regularly to marshal attention and resources to the advancement of NASA’s mission and to the sustainment and growth of the organization. Yes, we want more money for NASA – but just so that it can most effectively do all we’ve asked of it.
AIA is proud to advocate both for increased NASA spending and for balanced NASA spending across its portfolio. And we are proud of our members’ roles in enabling NASA’s scientific missions of discovery. Our member companies have built or contributed hardware launched by NASA throughout the solar system – and even into interstellar space.
We have member companies who develop the incredible instruments that help us view the Earth and understand how our planet works and how it is changing. And our members partner with NASA on exciting new explorations in civil aeronautics, like supersonic transportation and urban air mobility.
Next year will be AIA’s 100th anniversary as an organization, the 60th anniversary of NASA, and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. But neither organization – NASA nor AIA – will spend next year living in the past: we are both focused on the future and how we can keep doing big things.
I could speak at length about what NASA has done and what it will do. But, one of the most important achievements is its ability to inspire generations of children and adults, both today’s and tomorrow’s workforces.
Little inspires kids to study STEM as much as what they see from NASA – whether from a launch here on earth, or images beamed across the galaxy. When students think about the opportunity to design and build the first lunar gateway, or a traffic control system for space travel, they pursue degrees in engineering and science, and then pursue internships and apprenticeships, and hopefully, jobs in aerospace and defense.
And inspiring that future workforce means not only that America can continue to lead the world in innovation and achievement, but that American companies can continue to be globally competitive, creating well-paying American jobs that keep the economy moving.
This is why I’m excited to announce tonight that AIA is partnering with NASA and the SciArt Exchange to serve as a Presenting Sponsor of their Project Mars Competition, which challenges students and early career professionals to produce films and create posters that visualize NASA’s deep space expeditions, including the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System rocket and deep space gateway.
We’ll be providing $5,000 for an innovative film prize and hosting an event later in the Fall to celebrate all the winners, because we know that art and film can spark imagination and fuel the dreams of the engineers, scientists and innovators of tomorrow.
Everyone here tonight benefits from NASA continuing to hold its place as the world’s preeminent organization in aeronautics research, space exploration, science, and advanced technology. And, the public agrees that this leadership matters. A Spring 2018 Pew Research Center survey found an all-time high in support for NASA:
- 72% of Americans believe that it’s essential for America to continue to be the world leader in space exploration;
- 80% believe that the space station has been a good investment for the country; and
- 65% see an essential role for NASA in the future of U.S. space travel.
So, thank you to the House NASA Caucus for your work. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you.
Now I’m happy to introduce another partner, John Langford, the President of AIAA and the President and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences.