Space commission appointments: What to know

Last week, we provided an overview of the final version of the Texas Space Commission bill that is currently awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature. If and when HB 3447 is signed into law, attention will turn to filling the vacancies on the newly created space commission board and consortium executive committee.

Here’s what you need to know about the process:

Space Commission Board of Directors

The Texas Space Commission will be governed by a nine-member board of directors, which includes:

  • Three members appointed by the Governor
  • Three members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor; and
  • Three members appointed by the Speaker of the House

In making appointments, the bill states that individuals with experience in the following areas shall be prioritized:

  • Commercial aerospace
  • Civil aviation
  • Military aerospace
  • Space economic development
  • Space-related academic research; and
  • Nonprofit support of the space economy

Space commission board members all serve at the pleasure of the appointing office for six-year terms. Once the board is formed, the board will also have the power to establish ad-hoc advisory committees to carry out the responsibilities of the board, as we previously outlined.

Space Commission Executive Director

In addition to the nine-member board of directors, the space commission will be led by an executive director. The bill stipulates that any executive director who is hired must have experience leading and cultivating “academic, commercial, military, or governmental partnerships and coalitions.”

Ethics and Conflicts of Interest

All members of the board will be governed by conflict-of-interest rules, requiring recusal of board members who have second-degree connections, financial or professional interests in any entities that apply for or receive money from the commission. Board members who intentionally violate the commission’s rules around disclosure of conflicts of interest and recusal may be subject to removal from the board. However, in exceptional circumstances, waivers of conflict-of-interest rules may be approved by the board through a publicly reported, majority vote of the board.

Consortium Executive Committee

Similar to the space commission board, the Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium will be governed by an independent, nine-member executive committee:

  • Two members appointed by the Governor
  • Two members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor
  • Two members appointed by the Speaker of the House
  • Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System (or designee)
  • Chancellor of the University of Texas System (or designee); and
  • President of Rice University (or designee)

In making appointments to the consortium, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker are required to prioritize individuals with experience in:

  • Aeronautics
  • Space economic development; and
  • Academic engagement with the space economy

In addition, the bill indicates that appointments to the consortium should, where possible, reflect the state’s diversity, both geographically and ethnically.

Final Remarks on the Appointment Process

HB 3447 has not yet been signed into law. Once it is, the appointment process may happen over many months. For those looking to learn more, additional information on the appointment process can be found on the websites of the appointing offices:

Governor’s Appointment Portal
Lieutenant Governor’s Appointments
Speaker of the House Appointment Application

Read more:

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