Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized that we must make America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. At NASA, we depend on a strong US-based manufacturing capability for the success of our space and aeronautics programs.
We are building the next generation of rockets and a crew capsule that will take us farther into the solar system than we’ve ever been. And while we are focusing on deep space exploration and discovery, our American partners in the commercial space industry are building rockets to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) with cargo, and will soon be launching our astronauts into space from U.S. soil.
American businesses are building the most sophisticated space telescope ever made – the James Webb Telescope – and others fabricated the robotic dust-removal tool being used by Curiosity on Mars as this car-size rover begins drilling operations on the Red Planet. U.S. companies are building expandable space habitat technology to test on orbit on the ISS, and satellites that look back at Earth and inform us of severe weather events and changes in our climate. These firms are building unmanned aerial vehicles that fly through hurricanes and above wildfires, providing critical information to forecasters and first responders, as well as scientists on the ground who analysis this life-saving data.
U.S. manufacturing is a vital part of the American space and aeronautics programs. Although we work in space and fly through the air, every dollar of NASA’s budget is spent right here on Earth. A vibrant American manufacturing sector means a strong space program with plenty of future high-tech jobs for workers now – and into the future.