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Retired NASA engineer addresses club

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    Kerr County Commissioner and former NASA engineer Tom Moser explains how the design of the shuttle delivery vehicle was developed during his presentation to the Medina Faith and Freedom Club last week. BULLETIN PHOTO/Tracy Thayer

The Faith and Freedom Club of Medina hosted Kerr County Commissioner and retired NASA engineer Tom Moser on Monday, May 10, during their meeting at the Rodney Camp Pavilion of the Medina Community Library, where he spoke about his experiences working for over 30 years in the U.S. Space Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Moser began his work at NASA in 1963 as a mechanical design engineer. He worked on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. During the Apollo Program, he became the Engineering Manager. After the Apollo Program, Mr. Moser became senior manager of the Space Shuttle program and subsequently the JSC Director of Engineering. In 1986, he moved up to the position of Deputy Associate Administrator for Spaceflight at NASA. By 1989, he became the first NASA Space Station Program Director.

Moser began his presentation, titled “THe Human Spaceflight Experience: Past, Present and Future, by contrasting the first race for space in the 1960’s with today’s perspective on space exploration.

Moser said that the high level of commitment in all areas of our society in the 1960s was the single most important factor in the success of the Space Program, adding today’s cost benefit approach to space exploration is hard to quantify for the average person as unexpected benefits may be right around the corner.

Moser carefully went through each space program and detailed its purpose and role in the overall history of the program.

The Shuttle Program was designed to create a cost-effective transportation system to low earth orbit. The Space Shuttle flew 135 missions between 1981 and 2011, showing the program’s success as a transportation method to take pay loads weighing up to 65,000 lbs. into low earth orbit.

Today’s Space Station program, originating in 1989, was designed to develop a microgravity research station with foreign participation. Each program built upon its predecessor to get the United States to the position it is in today as a world leader in space flight exploration.

“To me the biggest thing about space is what it does to motivate young people on earth…it’s amazing to me that it inspires this creativity. That is one of the best things about space,” stated Moser.

Projecting into the future, Moser said, “So where do we go with this, we’ve learned how to be in space. We know how to do it. The private sector is there. One concept is to get back to the moon and have the private sector participate.

“Once you get to the moon, there is a lot of ice on the moon. Can you effectively and efficiently mine the moon of hydrogen to make fuel? That’s being studied now. Three hundred miles above earth into space, we could sell fuel to other countries trying to get into space. There’s also the tourist objective to get to the moon. The moon could be a launching pad to go to Mars.”