Janet Petro, Kennedy Space Center director, released the following statement after her keynote address on Jan. 12, 2022, at the SpaceCom 2022, developed in partnership with the 48th Spaceport Summit, held in Orlando, Florida.

“I was honored to address colleagues and partners at the SpaceCom / 48th Spaceport Summit this morning to discuss the historical significance of the coming year for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the space industry.

“2022 marks 60 years of Kennedy enabling science, exploration, and human space flight in support of our nation’s space program. I recently received a box of memorabilia from my father’s career supporting the Apollo, Gemini, and Shuttle programs. Looking at all of the newspaper clippings, awards, and photographs led me to reflect on the future of NASA and Kennedy’s role in the history we are making today to advance space technology for the benefit of our Earth and all of humanity.

“In the next few weeks, we are planning to conduct the wet dress rehearsal of the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System, the world’s most powerful rocket. When Artemis I launches later this year, Orion will make its way around the Moon and back – a critical step as NASA prepares to send the first woman and person of color to the lunar surface.

“Even as we await this historic milestone, Kennedy is poised to support more crewed missions, commercial resupply, and test flight missions to the International Space Station through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. That’s on top of the many launches managed by our Launch Services Program – missions that will advance Earth-facing science, validate technologies for future lunar missions, and further the exploration of our solar system and beyond.

“As early as the 1970s, Kennedy Space Center was known as America’s Spaceport, and we didn’t get there by accident. Decades of transformation from a government-only launching facility to a multiuser spaceport have far exceeded the vision of times past. Today, Kennedy has more than 90 private sector partners and nearly 250 partnership agreements, which are critical to the future of space exploration and commercialization of low-Earth orbit.

“Moving into the future, Kennedy expects continued growth of launch capacity and, very likely, an associated increase in jobs. The single-unit tenancies of the past are making way for campus-like arrangements, such as those seen in Exploration Park, which allow companies to consolidate manufacturing, integration, testing, and launch services in a single area to enable more efficient operations. And we remain committed to ensuring this growth occurs in an environmentally responsible way.

“As we celebrate our diamond anniversary in 2022, Kennedy Space Center is more committed than ever to building on the legacy of the work that has gone before, helping meet the demands of the future, both on this planet and off.”

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