Jennifer Kunz, associate director technical of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, released the following statement after speaking Thursday at the SpaceCom / 50th Space Congress in Orlando, Florida.
“NASA’s Moon to Mars strategy rests on three pillars: pursuing science to better understand the universe and our origins; inspiring the next generation to achieve the seemingly impossible; and building on American preeminence in science, technology and exploration while strengthening economic and diplomatic ties with other nations. Kennedy is proud to be at the forefront of helping achieve the agency’s ambitious Moon to Mars Objectives for the benefit of all.
“Most people know Kennedy for launching rockets, but our spaceport also is home to new technologies needed to establish a sustained human presence on the Moon and exploration throughout the solar system. Today, Kennedy teams are working on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for the Artemis campaign, which will return humans to the lunar surface after more than 50 years. Kennedy is the only place on Earth where the SLS rocket is fully assembled prior to launch. Once built, the rocket, spacecraft, and ground systems will undergo rigorous testing and validation in preparation for launching astronauts further and deeper in space than ever before.
“Engineers also are developing technologies that our astronauts will need on the lunar surface. These include 3D printing capability to build structures on the Moon; rovers, and instruments to find water, minerals, and other resources to help sustain a long-term presence; and electrodynamic dust shield technologies that repel the abrasive Moon dust and protect vehicles and sensitive equipment.
“Kennedy’s plant researchers continue working hard to find new ways to grow food in space to supplement the diets of astronauts with key nutrients. And as we advance these technologies, we also administer a number of programs that enable university researchers to help solve other key Moon to Mars challenges.
“While we focus on Moon and Mars, NASA continues to enable the growth of the commercial space sector. Beyond supporting Artemis, our industry and international partners make it possible to launch crews and conduct critical research on the International Space Station. We also rely on commercial expertise to launch many of our robotic science missions that study the Earth, the solar system, and beyond.
“As we stand at the dawn of a new age of space exploration, I can’t wait to see the innovations and advancements to come. We often hear that “space is hard,” and we at Kennedy take great inspiration from our history, which is full of stories of NASA engineers solving seemingly impossible problems. As we make the next giant leap to the Moon and Mars, Kennedy Space Center is proud to do our part to advance science, inspire the Artemis Generation, and strengthen America’s standing in the world.”
Kunz’s biography is available online, and file images are available from NASA’s image library in vertical and horizontal formats.
For more information about Kennedy Space Center, visit:
Kennedy Space Center, Florida