May 26, 2017
by Claire Aiello
Astronauts and engineers aren’t the only people who rely on NASA. Local cities and small businesses across the United States depend on America’s space program, providing workers and expertise to help keep it pushing ahead to the next mission.
From May 23-25, Citizens for Space Exploration made its 26th trip to Washington, D.C. to talk with Congressional leaders. In all, 26 teams comprised of professionals and students held more than 400 office visits with Congressmen and Senators. The purpose is to sustain jobs and industries tied to human space exploration.
Mike Ward, Senior VP of Government and Public Affairs of the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, hosted four students who had previously interned with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville: Will Johnson of Western Kentucky University, Jennifer Adams of the University of North Carolina, Aaron Hensley of Missouri University of Science and Technology and Sana Surani of Georgia Tech.
The four had their trip sponsored by the Chamber and the National Space Club-Huntsville Chapter.
“It’s great to take these very technically proficient people and educate them in the process of policy development,” said Ward. “I think at the end of their experience they have a new and better appreciation for what it takes to keep NASA going.”
Students went through practice exercises on how to stay on topic if a conversation starts to change. They also heard updates about what’s currently happening on the Hill, as well as with NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program.
Ward’s team also met with Alabama’s entire Congressional delegation.
“We’re grateful to the National Space Club – Huntsville Chapter,” Ward added. They’ve been a great partner for more than 10 years to help do this.”