New Space Industry Hot Spot: Wichita?

NASA speaker at Wichita Aero Club touts commercial space industry
Wichita Business Journal

Dr. Alan Weston, director of programs at the NASA Ames Research Center, says space travel will become a commercial industry and Wichita could help lead the way.

Weston was the keynote speaker Tuesday at the Wichita Aero Club’s August luncheon.

He says government-run space exploration is so costly that it holds back progress. And, he says, private industries — such as Wichita’s aviation cluster — can bring those costs down.

“Government space, government managers, aren’t motivated the way you are to be cost-effective,” he says. “We at Ames, and many people at NASA, believe that commercial space can cut these costs dramatically. I believe, and Pete Worden (director of NASA Ames) believes, that the industry here — the aviation industry — can lead this revolution.”

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Update: There’s more on this subject from The Huffington Post:

Republican gubernatorial nominee Sam Brownback envisions a future of commercial space flight where existing aircraft makers in Kansas use their expertise and infrastructure to work with private space companies to design and build spaceships.

The U.S. senator from Kansas dreams of enticing aerospace companies to locate facilities in his home state.

But as Brownback unveiled his so-called road map for Kansas aviation on Tuesday he also grappled with present-day realities: an industry battered by a global economic downturn, foreign competition from subsidized companies and efforts by other states to lure those Kansas companies and their high-paid jobs elsewhere.

“Kansas needs to be proactive instead of reactive on new program starts and be prepared for the future direction of the industry,” Brownback said.