JSC Annual Report FY97







Research and

Aerospace and the
Business Communities

JSC and the



  JSC and the

The Johnson Space Center has a substantial economic impact on Texas, the Southeast Texas region and the Houston-Clear Lake-area community. Indeed, it is one of the "big three" along with petrochemicals and world-renowned medical facilities helping propel Houston's economy.

But the impact of the Center stretches far beyond financial considerations. It has a strong and growing relationship with the public which benefits both the Center and its neighbors.

The Center holds an annual open house for the public, the ultimate owners and beneficiaries of the space program. More importantly than being a host to an increasingly popular event, the Johnson Space Center and its people help preserve and popularize the heritage of the area. The Center and its people also have a positive impact on education, from the elementary through postgraduate levels.

The Center shares facilities with the community, including a modern Emergency Operations Center, that could save lives in the event of a natural disaster or other major emergency.

Economic Impact

As FY 1997 began, the Johnson Space Center's workforce on site and near the site totaled almost 15,000, including nearly 3,400 civil servants.

When the effects of money flowing across the region from salaries and Center activities is taken into account, Johnson Space Center activities are responsible for a substantially greater number of jobs.

Texas is second among the states in total NASA dollars received. In work assigned to the Johnson Space Center, almost half the Shuttle program dollars and more than 10 percent of Space Station dollars stay in Texas.

Other facts of note as FY 1997 began

  • About 80 percent of the NASA and Johnson Space Center budgets went to the private sector via contracts, compared to about 9 percent of the total federal budget.
  • Average age of Center civil servants was 44; about 84 percent of employees had bachelor's degrees, 23 percent of those had masters and 6 percent held doctorates.
  • Since it was established, Johnson Space Center budgets have totaled more than $61 billion. Additional impact is realized from substantial space-related tourism. Much of it results from visitors attracted by the Johnson Space Center and the independently operated visitor facility, Space Center Houston.

Community Interface

The Johnson Space Center Open House on Saturday, August 23, was perhaps FY 1997's most visible and largest interaction with the public. The theme was "Space . . . for all people." More than 100 exhibits at more than 20 facilities drew an estimated 80,000 visitors.

Vital to its success were the 1,600 volunteers -- civil servants and contractor personnel -- who staffed the exhibits. Among them were astronauts, scientists, engineers and administrators. The event was free, and visitors were able to move around the Center on foot or by using trams to view exhibits of interest.

Nearly every aspect of space flight was featured in the comprehensive line-up of displays, demonstrations, and space hardware. Mission operations, Shuttle and Space Station training and simulations, robotics and virtual reality, manufacturing and fabrication, spacecraft propulsion and energy systems, space communications, life support and space suits, and a wealth of science investigations were included. Visitors saw facilities that benefit the community, as well as being resources for the Johnson Space Center. Other less visible facilities and programs also offer substantial benefits to the community.

Among them

  • The modern, 4,000-square-foot Emergency Operations Center is designed to respond to any of a range of emergencies that could affect the Johnson Space Center and neighboring communities. More than a third of the Emergency Operations Center has been reserved to augment community emergency operations. The facility's computer-aided dispatch system became operational early in FY 1997.

  • The Johnson Space Center Educator Resource Center was relocated during FY 1997 to Space Center Houston. The facility contributes to the nation's educational goals by giving teachers the tools to expand and enhance the scientific and technological competence of their students. Educators have immediate access to a wealth of information created by NASA's programs, technologies, and discoveries. The Educator Resource Center is free to all educators.

  • Texas Independence Trail Riders and Longhorn Cattle highlighted the Johnson Space Center's "Go Western Day" February 5, 1997. Dedication of the JSC Longhorn Project, a piece of Texas heritage and Texas' future, was held before about 1,000 people -- among them trail riders, aerospace workers and educators. JSC Director George Abbey joined officials from the Clear Creek Independent School District, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association and local Go Texan subcommittee members in a mid-day dedication of the JSC longhorn education project. The project received its first two Texas longhorns that day. The Longhorn Project will offer students the opportunity to learn about cattle care and breeding, aquaculture, and fruit and vegetable cultivation.

  • More than 225 Johnson Space Center and contractor employees visited more than 350 area classrooms during February, the month which includes National Engineers Week. Their purpose was to encourage students to consider careers in engineering, science and technology. A total of 117 schools in and around Houston hosted the visits. The volunteers found eager audiences, and thank you letters from students and teachers poured in for weeks.

  • A collaborative education venture to locate a Clear Creek Independent School District intermediate school at the Johnson Space Center was announced in late May. The agreement provides the opportunity to combine the scientific and technical expertise of the Johnson Space Center with teaching skills of the Clear Creek district faculty to further develop the science, mathematics and technology curriculum for students. The school will be on about 35 acres on the southwest corner of the Johnson Space Center. It is expected to be completed by the fall of 1999.

  • Twenty-three teams of undergraduate students from U.S. colleges and universities flew with their scientific and engineering experiments on the Center's KC-135 zero-gravity aircraft. The program provided a unique academic experience -- it allowed the students to propose, design, fabricate, fly and assess results of zero-gravity experiments over an eight-month period.

  • A team of engineers and manufacturing technicians partnered with students from three Clear Creek ISD high schools for the FY 1997 FIRST Competition. The acronym means "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology." It is a national engineering contest which immerses the students in engineering. With their professional partners, students got a hands-on, in-depth look at the engineering profession by designing, building and testing a "champion robot." In a subsequent competition, complete with referees, cheerleaders and time clocks, the Johnson Space Center-sponsored team finished 26th among 132 teams.

As impressive as they are, these are only a few examples of the broad range of volunteering, giving and preparation that make the Johnson Space Center a good neighbor and a good friend, in normal times and times of need.