MONEY MATTERS with Christopher Hensley

Nearly two years after Houston City Council members gave their overwhelming support for the project, the FAA’s formal approval opens the door for plans that could see Ellington Airport become a focal point for aerospace operations, such as the launching of micro satellites, astronaut training, zero gravity experimentation, spacecraft manufacturing and a host of other potential activities.

We were joined today by the Director of Rice Space Institute and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Sr. David Alexander. We discussed the implications to the local and greater Gulf Coast economy and workforce.


David Alexander is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where his primary area of research is solar astrophysics.  As Director, Professor Alexander is responsible for the mission and direction required to develop and achieve the goals and objectives of the institute.

Professor Alexander is a member of the Rice Faculty Senate and author of “The Sun” part of the Greenwood Press “Guide to the Universe” Series. He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004 and was appointed a Kavli Frontiers Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences in 2006.  He is currently the Vice Chair of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomy Society, and  Chair of the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory Users’ Committee.  He is also former Chair of the Solar Heliospheric Interplanetary Environment (SHINE) program.  Professor Alexander has served on many national and professional committees including the NASA Advisory Council’s Heliophysics Subcommittee, the NASA Solar Heliospheric Management and Operations Working Group (SH-MOWG), ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Payload Committee and the Science Advisory Board of the High Altitude Observatory Coronal Solar Magnetism Observatory.

Professor Alexander joined the faculty at Rice in 2003, coming from the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, California where he was a Staff Physicist working on the development of advanced space missions for solar physics.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, and his doctorate on Relativistic Cosmological Models from the

To find out more visit:

Rice Space Institute


The Houston Spaceport 

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