Sen. Kevin Cramer and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Tour UND, Grand Sky
They held a town hall with space studies students
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Grand Forks is considered the place to be for space exploration. Sen. Kevin Cramer invited NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine for a tour.
For students in UND’s space studies program, there’s something fascinating about the night sky.
“Being able to look at the stars at night is just amazing, using my telescope to look at galaxies, planets, the wonders of space, it’s just drawn me towards this field,” Steven Russell said.
Students like Russell were at a town hall to hear Cramer and Bridenstine discuss space policy and sustainability.
“We can have government agency relationships, we can have government to government relationships, but human to human relationships are still the best and the most important,” Cramer said.
The two toured a variety of places at UND, including the Mars habitat and the space studies area.
The senator and administrator got to see different prototypes for space suits. The suit for going to Mars is a lot lighter than the one for going to the moon because of the difference in gravity.
“That’s going to be tremendously valuable research for us as we go to the moon for long periods of time and then onto Mars. That’s the agenda,” Bridenstine staid.
Bridenstine highlighted his commitment to the Artemis Program, which aims to land the first woman and next man on the south side of the moon by 2024.
He also emphasized the importance of establishing a Space Force, because of the amount tools like satellites that Americans have in space. Developing a Space Force has to be approved by Congress.
“The competitors of the United States have declared space the American Achilles heel. Imagine a day without the GPS signal. Without the GPS signal, there is no banking in the United States of America. That’s an existential threat to our country,” Bridenstine said.
Exploring space has so many elements, and for Russell, who says he’d love to work for NASA, hearing from the head of the agency was a great opportunity.
“It’s really amazing that he’s here. Especially for a school like us here at UND, we don’t get this opportunity very often,” he said.
Cramer and Bridenstine visited Grand Sky following the UND tour.