It was inspiring to hear new NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson deliver the State of NASA report June 2 on the agency and its work moving forward. This is an exciting time as Sen. Nelson takes the helm. He has a proven history of supporting the work of the agency in all key areas, and I eagerly anticipate the days ahead as he leads the agency to new and greater accomplishments and successes.
By all accounts, the State of NASA is strong and focused. As an agency, we continue to
be good stewards of the public trust as we engage in deep space exploration missions
and deliver life-changing benefits to the nation.
The upcoming months have been identified as a Year of Innovation as NASA focuses
on three key areas – the Artemis program to return to the Moon in a sustainable way as preparation for future missions to Mars, continued cutting-edge climate and Earth
science research, and a focus on equity as we work to ensure full participation in the
NASA mission by all segments of our workforce and communities.
The current administration and the nation-at-large has placed their trust in NASA to
move forward with plans to land the first woman and the first person of color on the
Moon as part of the Artemis program, to provide the research needed to protect and
sustain our planet, to engage in innovative technology research and development to
benefit all areas of life, and to invest in our future through focused and expanded STEM
initiatives as we prepare our leaders of tomorrow.
Stennis remains steadfast in its support of all these agency programs and initiatives,
with particular emphasis on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Artemis
missions. Green Run testing of the first SLS core stage was accomplished earlier this
spring, and preparations now are underway for launch of the inaugural Artemis I
mission. Meanwhile, we are continuing to test RS-25 single engines for use on SLS and
are beginning preparations to test the Exploration Upper Stage unit when it is
completed. Our innovative Autonomous Systems Lab also is working to design,
develop, and test new smart capabilities that could be used on Artemis and SLS
hardware and missions.
Likewise, we are engaged in efforts to be good environmental stewards and to expand
our STEM activities to reach more students and a more diverse representation of
students. There can be no greater investment in our future than in the training of young
people to be the scientists, engineers, technologists, and explorers of tomorrow.
History shows that this nation accomplishes incredible things when it is focused and
united. That is how we achieved the historic success of the Apollo Program more than
50 years ago. That is how we have explored the reaches of our solar system,
established an ongoing presence of more than 20 years in space aboard the
International Space Station, launched the Hubble Space Telescope that has opened the
reaches of the universe to our eyes, landed rovers on Mars that have returned evidence
of water on the Red Planet, and even flown a drone helicopter on another world as part
of the latest Mars exploration mission.
Today, a new generation looks to the skies and to new exploration missions and
endeavors. The challenges are great, and some might even question if the daring
missions ahead can be achieved. However, I am excited to see leaders unite in their
vision for space exploration, to see the American people focused on the importance and value of such efforts, and to see the nation as a whole committed to providing the
resources needed for our exploration programs and missions.
With such vision and focus, there is no mission we cannot undertake and achieve. With
such commitment, there is no challenge too great to overcome. With such unity of
purpose, there is no doubt we, as an agency and a nation, can change the world we are
in and continue NASA’s long tradition of delivering amazing results with our amazing
For more information about Stennis Space Center, visit: www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis