Space exploration is good for American jobs

Space exploration is good for American jobs
© NASA

The Trump administration has laid a path for America to recapture our stature as the global leader for human space exploration.

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump, Pence offer condolences to families of Missouri boat tour victims GOP to hold 2020 convention in Charlotte Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE said in October, “We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon — not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond.”

Now, how could we accomplish this challenge?

The inevitability of humans exploring deep space isn’t in question — it is rather how and when we will accomplish this goal. The Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion programs are laying the foundation for the Earth-to-deep-space infrastructure and have already made great strides in turning this American dream into a reality.

With the program on-schedule and set to launch its first exploratory mission in 2019, the next era of space travel now resides in Congress’ hands.

Continued funding would not only reaffirm the country’s leadership in space and allow travel to previously untouched lands, but also enable the commercialization of highly innovative technology and support tens of thousands of American jobs.

Investment in deep space exploration programs today will allow human space exploration to continue pushing conceivable limits tomorrow and well into the future.

Over 250 of America’s leading innovative companies will descend on Capitol Hill next week. These “suppliers” for the Space Launch System Rocket and Orion Spacecraft U.S. exploration programs will highlight how their work is helping drive U.S. innovation, creating thousands of high paying/hi tech jobs, and attracting the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics talent.

Innovation is known as taking things that already exist and putting them together in a new way. Located in the revitalized Detroit technology corridor, Futuramic Tool and Engineering is a small SLS supplier, which helped drive innovation in the auto industry. Now its 250 employees are now doing the same in space.

Futuramic Tool and Engineering is known for their Intertank Final Assembly Jig, one of the few tools that was saved and re-purposed at the end of the Space Shuttle Program. Futuramic designed and performed a significant rebuild of the Jig so it met the exacting dimensional requirements of the SLS. Futuramic also supplied all the drill jigs and Thrust Beam assembly tooling that is being used by NASA and Boeing to build the Intertank Assembly.

Indiana-based Imagineering Finishing Technologies, which has about 125 workers at its headquarters, specializes in metal finishing. At both of its facilities, Imagineering receives metal parts made at other suppliers for both the Orion and SLS, treats the parts while inspecting them for manufacturing errors.

Both companies will be creating technology that can be commercialized, utilized by other sectors of the economy, and help benefit the America public.

In both localities, workers will be able to say that they were part of history. American history. Their stories of innovation and inspiration will echo throughout the hallways of Congress in a few weeks. Their work on our nation’s preeminent human space exploration program will indeed help drive the limits of innovation and go beyond them.

David Logsdon is the senior director of the CompTIA Space Enterprise Council.