Houston and French Space Leaders Convene at Rice Global Paris Center to Discuss Future of Spaceflight

Houston and French Space Leaders Convene at Rice Global Paris Center to Discuss Future of Spaceflight

Leaders from the Houston and French space industries are set to gather at the Rice Global Paris Center from December 4-6 for a conference aimed at shaping the future of space exploration. The event will bring together key figures from Rice University, NASA, the Houston space industry, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the Université Paris Sciences et Lettres, and the French commercial space sector. Representatives from the French-U.S. energy industry will also participate.

The conference will feature presentations addressing technical, policy, and regulatory challenges associated with developing international private-public collaborations in space exploration. The primary objective is to generate ideas for achieving a sustainable presence in space, including on the moon and beyond.

Highlighted speakers from Houston include John Scott, principal technologist – power and energy storage at NASA; Christian Maender, executive vice president of in-space solutions for Axiom Space; Trent Martin, vice president for lunar access at Intuitive Machines; and former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company.

David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute and a professor of physics and astronomy, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration with the CNES, emphasizing the importance of addressing policy and regulatory challenges in international space partnerships. He hopes the workshop will mark the beginning of a joint effort to tackle these challenges.

Rice University has a rich history in space exploration, hosting President John F. Kennedy’s historic 1962 speech declaring the intention to go to the moon. From laying the foundation for a dedicated space science department to the current work of the Rice Space Institute, the university continues to play a pivotal role in space science and innovation.

The Rice Global Paris Center, established in 2023 and situated in Le Marais, serves as Rice University’s first international campus. Functioning as a hub for high-priority international research, the center fosters collaboration with global partners and provides a unique space for academic immersions in France and beyond.