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NASA Administrator Joins Massie, Other Congressmen in Covington

A powerful collection of elected officials, aviation and aerospace CEOs, higher education representatives, and more met in a Covington hotel for a roundtable discussion with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to hear about the needs of the United States's aeronautics program and how the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region has been successfully supporting the organization's mission. 

The meeting at the Cincinnati Marriott at RiverCenter was organized by Republican Northern Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie, with Congressmen Warren Davidson, Steve Chabot, and Brad Wentrup - Republicans from Ohio in attendance.

The overall message of the meeting was that NASA relies on the public private partnerships it has been able to cultivate over the past several years to ensure that each dollar in its budget can be stretched further. 

Bridenstine stated that it is important that the U.S.A. is at the forefront of these technological advances because these are the rules that will be adopted throughout the world. 

Beginning his remarks with the idea of Urban Air Mobility. Bridenstine said that NASA is working with commercial entities to advance low-altitude urban travel for humans. 

"These are essentially 3-dimensional taxi cabs," Bridenstine said. "Our biggest hurdle is fitting these devices into our current national airspace system."

Bridenstine explained that NASA's role in this discussion is to help develop the needed equipment and show it's efficacy to the FAA for everyday use. He also said that this is a sector of aerospace that is seeing massive investment from companies such as Toyota and Hyundai - suggesting to him that the time for this technology is closer than most think. 

Bridenstine said that Amazon's desire to deliver packages with drones fits within this part of his organization's mission. 

"Our goal is to develop and refine these technologies to avoid collisions in mid-air, account for inclement weather, and have other needed precautions such as parachutes to prepare for the worst, he stated. "Safety is always our number one priority."

One of NASA's goals under Bridenstine is to help create certifications processes for the FAA. This will allow corporations to advance these technologies even easier than before. 

After completing his remarks on low-altitude projects NASA is working on, Bridenstine moved to commercial airline travel and the technological advancements that will make that more accessible to everyday Americans. 

During this section, Bridenstine talked about advancements in commercial airline engines that allow each traveler to move at an efficiency of 90 miles per gallon. These advancements are crucial, as aviation technology is a $150 billion per year export for USA. 

Bridenstine then talked about technology that is being developed to orbit Earth , like satellite broadband, advanced GPS, and medical advancements that are taking place thanks to zero-g labs. 

"We are going to the moon, and we are going to stay there," Bridenstine said before concluding his remarks. 

"We are going to use the resources on the moon to create a sustainable population there, and use those resources to go further," he continued. 

Bridenstine's said that his plan for NASA is to harvest hydrogen from the vast reserves of water ice that was found on the moon in 2009 to fuel a trip to Mars - which he and his team believe could very possibly support life.

"We have seen these complex building blocks of all life all over the surface of Mars," Bridenstine said. "I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the probability of finding life on Mars is continually going up." 

Bridenstine said that this space station, titled Artemis, will orbit the moon and consists of an open-architecture design that promotes collaborative global partnerships.

"What we are saying is, 'if you can design something within our guidelines - which can be found online - to work with this space station, we want to have it," Bridenstine claimed. 

This meeting was designed to highlight the large number of aeronautical-based industry giants that operate within the Greater Cinncinnati/Northern Kentucky region. 

"I thought that James [Bridenstine] was doing us a favor by coming down here," Massie said. "But after listening to him speak these last few days, I'm almost tempted to increase the budget for him." 

Written by Connor Wall, associate editor