FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     September 23, 2019

Texas A&M University System to serve as title sponsor for the Association of Space Explorers 32nd Planetary Congress

HOUSTON – Officials with the Association of Space Explorers (ASE) today announced The Texas A&M University System as the title sponsor of ASE’s XXXII Planetary Congress, taking place October 14-18 in Houston. The annual event gathers astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world to discuss human activities in space and future plans for low-Earth orbit and beyond. This year’s event will be the largest gathering of organization in history.

“Texas A&M University is among the nation’s finest schools in aerospace engineering,” said Andy Turnage, ASE executive director. “This year’s Congress will celebrate one of humankind’s greatest achievements, the Moon landing. Many of the men and women who helped make that feat possible, as well as contributed to subsequent space exploration programs, graduated from Texas A&M schools. To have such an exceptional collegiate system as our primary sponsor is quite an honor.”

The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $6.3 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 153,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $996 million in fiscal year 2017 and helped drive the state’s economy.

“Our mission at the Texas A&M University System is to provide education, conduct research, commercialize technology, offer training and deliver services for the people of Texas,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “Among our fields of study, we have a deep ongoing commitment to human space exploration. Aligning with ASE is the perfect opportunity to showcase that commitment.”

Chancellor Sharp commended Planetary Congress Chair Bonnie J. Dunbar, retired astronaut and Texas A&M University aerospace engineering professor, for her leadership of this important event.

 ASE’s annual Congress, which rotates to a different nation every year, returns to the U.S. in 2019 for only the fourth time since 1985. This year’s theme, “Celebrating Apollo-Inspiring the Future,” will recognize and honor the U.S. Apollo Program’s first landing on the Moon. More than 130 astronaut and cosmonaut delegates from across the planet will share with the public the accomplishments of space exploration over the last five decades, and discuss the industry’s future. It will feature a variety of technical sessions presented by individuals and panels, along with one statewide “Community Day,” where delegates will visit schools, universities and communities throughout Texas. The visits are intended to generate public awareness about human space exploration and to inspire students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

For more information about ASE’s XXXII Planetary Congress, visit

About the Association of Space Explorers
The Association of Space Explorers (ASE) is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) professional and educational organization of more than 400 flown astronauts and cosmonauts from 38 nations. ASE’s mission is to provide a forum for professional dialogue among individuals who have flown in space; to communicate the benefits of space science and exploration to the public; to promote education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); to inspire all students; to foster environmental awareness and geographical literacy through such programs as “Windows on the Earth”; and to encourage international cooperation in the exploration of space.

About the ASE XXXII Planetary Congress
Flown astronaut/cosmonaut delegates from all over the world will gather in Houston, Texas, for the XXXII Planetary Congress to honor the accomplishments in space exploration over the last five decades, share with the public the science and engineering achievements generated by space exploration, and shine a light on the future as we journey back to the Moon and on to Mars. For more information on the ASE and its XXXII Planetary Congress, visit or follow the Congress on Twitter and Facebook.

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