As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings, space is back in the headlines. FINN talks to two space experts from the US’ space capital, Houston.

Former astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, Tim Kopra now works at Blue Bear Capital, which invests in data-driven technologies within the supply chain.

Kopra said: “I am very excited about what’s going on in space. All of us that [have been] living and working in space see that it is the most exciting thing.

“The difference now, though, is the general public has really started to get the enthusiasm that all of us have had since we were little kids.”

“It is a very exciting time. And I think a lot of that stems from social media, multimedia and the commercial spaceflight companies that are sharing their own capabilities. All us will rise as a consequence.”

Space tourism

When it comes to space tourism,  Kopra says the first step will be non-astronauts going out for just a few minutes, to experience “zero gravity and looking out the window, seeing the curvature of the earth.”

“The next evolution of actually living in space is a very, very high bar. So we’ll see what happens there in the commercial world,” Kopra commented.

 Houston Spaceport

Arturo Machuca, General Manager of Ellington Airport and Houston Spaceport.

“The idea is, again, to help in the transition from the federal programme to a commercial programme,” Machuca said. “We have been making tremendous progress.”

At Paris Air Show, it was announced that Intuitive Machines, which has been selected by NASA, will build its lunar lander at the Houston Spaceport.

The robotic landing is scheduled for July 2021.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” Machuca said.

“The opportunity that this venture is bringing for the area is just tremendous,” he added.

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