Atec participated in the 2017 Citizens for Space Exploration Congressional Visits Trip May 23-25, 2017 to help advance support for human space exploration and demonstrate a large, grassroots constituency for space exploration. The 26th annual trip included 96 travelers, representing 27 states, who split into 3 or 4 person teams to conduct 401 Congressional office visits. The diverse group of travelers included 35 students studying engineering or related technical fields, industry representatives, and community leaders/elected officials. A Congressional reception was held that was well attended by over 50 staffers, and included remarks from 8 Members of Congress. (Pictured to the left: Atec VP, Brian Durbin and Texas A&M Student, Robert Durbin and their teammates for the trip.)
The group’s key messages included: continuity for NASA human space exploration programs, funding of the missions set forth in the 2017 NASA Authorization Act, the importance of restoring U.S. space launch capabilities to support human space flight, and NASA’s role in supporting American leadership, education, innovation, health care, and quality of life for less than half of one percent of the budget.
Team members discussed their specific personal reasons for support for America’s space program such as:
- A healthy space program is important to inspire students and get them into STEM careers.
- What is happening in space exploration and why it is important to the economy and to business.
- NASA is an important investment and provides a wide range of spinoff benefits.
- Additional reasons such as leadership, education, technological innovation and competitiveness.