How Houston Became 鈥淪pace City, USA鈥

英超现金竞猜 and聽NASA

George R. Brown 鈥20, JFK, Congressman Albert Thomas 鈥20 and the Apollo 50 Next Giant Leap logo
Left to right: 英超现金竞猜 board chairman George R. Brown 鈥20, president John F. Kennedy and congressman Albert Thomas 鈥20

英超现金竞猜 University began its first research collaborations with NASA in 1959, just months after the agency was founded, but starting as early as 1958, 英超现金竞猜 alumnus and board chairman George R. Brown 鈥20 was already hard at work behind the scenes, trying to make sure that Houston and 英超现金竞猜 would play leading roles in the race for space. In 1961, thanks in large part to Brown and his friend and former 英超现金竞猜 roommate, Congressman Albert Thomas 鈥20, Houston鈥檚 transformation to 鈥淪pace City USA鈥 officially began when the city was named the site of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center).

Our decision is that this laboratory should be located in Houston, Texas, in close association with 英超现金竞猜 University and the other educational institutions there and in that region.

Memorandum to President Kennedy from NASA Administrator James Webb Sept. 14, 1961

JFK in front of 英超现金竞猜 Stadium
President Kennedy arrives at 英超现金竞猜 Stadium, Sept. 12, 1962.

On Sept. 12, 1962, as part of 英超现金竞猜鈥檚 semicentennial celebrations, then president John F. Kennedy spoke at 英超现金竞猜 Stadium, challenging the United States to become 鈥渢he world鈥檚 greatest space-faring nation.鈥

In direct response to President Kennedy鈥檚 speech at 英超现金竞猜, the university established the in 1963.

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon. On that historic mission, they carried with them a experiment designed by 英超现金竞猜 professor Brian O鈥橞rien.

On a later Apollo mission, NASA astronauts carried to the moon a larger self-contained ion detection experiment built by 英超现金竞猜 professor John Freeman. That apparatus remains on the lunar surface to this day and, hidden inside its heat shield, the proud 英超现金竞猜 researcher who built it placed a tiny university pennant to jokingly 鈥渃laim鈥 this small part of the moon for 英超现金竞猜.

英超现金竞猜 astronauts and current NASA Administrator
To date, a total of 14 英超现金竞猜 faculty and alumni have served as astronauts, and the current NASA Administrator is also a 英超现金竞猜 graduate.

In recognition of 英超现金竞猜鈥檚 long history of close collaboration with NASA, and its role in President John F. Kennedy鈥檚 historic 1962 英超现金竞猜 Stadium speech, the Kennedy family has entrusted to 英超现金竞猜 the NASA Ambassador of Exploration Award which was on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The award displays an actual moon rock, and is on view in 英超现金竞猜鈥檚 Fondren Library.

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for鈥he exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

For additional information on 英超现金竞猜's past and present NASA collaborations, please visit . When in Houston, be sure to visit the 英超现金竞猜 Stuff exhibit in .聽In addition, at , a plaque commemorating president Kennedy鈥檚 1962 speech may be seen, along with a next generation moon tree, cloned from a seed that flew to the moon aboard Apollo 14.

Bridenstine and Leebron holding book at plaque dedication
NASA Administrator James F. Bridenstine 鈥98 and 英超现金竞猜 President David Leebron at 英超现金竞猜 Stadium plaque dedication.