New “Admirals” to Play Key Role in Future Texas Space Program
(Austin, TX) Two citizen-astronaut candidates have been honored by the state of Texas. Edward Wright and Maureen Adams are among the latest Texans to be awarded commissions as Admirals in the Texas Navy by Governor Rick Perry.
Admirals Wright and Adams are two of the five astronaut candidates currently being trained by Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, to fly on the Lynx spacecraft. Citizens in Space has acquired a contract for 10 flights on the Lynx, currently under construction by XCOR Aerospace. Each flight will carry up to 10 experiments, with a citizen astronaut acting as experiment operator.
The Lynx is a reusable, suborbital spacecraft designed to fly four times a day. In 2012, Governor Perry announced that XCOR Aerospace would move its flight-test center to Midland, Texas. The move is expected to occur later this year. XCOR could conduct as many as 520 spaceflights each year from Midland, according to the city’s FAA launch-site license application.
The Texas Navy was reactivated as an honorary organization by the Governor of Texas in 1958. The flagship of the Texas Navy, the retired battleship USS Texas, does not sail but is on static display at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in La Porte, Texas.
Texas Navy Admirals are selected by the Governor’s office and commissioned “with the duty of assisting in the preservation of the history, boundaries, water resources, and defense of the state.”
“That is a duty we take seriously,” Admiral Wright said. “Water resources are of great concern to us in Texas, with a large part of the state locked in severe drought for the past few years. Some of the experiments we are planning are directly related to the water cycle. For example, researchers have discovered that precipitation is affected by microorganisms in the atmosphere. The Lynx may provide a useful way of sampling those organisms.”
Awarding honorary rank or titles to explorers is not a new idea, Admiral Adams said. “There is a historic tradition, dating back to the age of sea and air exploration. Columbus was honored with with title of ‘Admiral of the Ocean Sea.’ In the 20th Century, aviation pioneer Roscoe Turner was appointed as a lieutenant colonel by the Governor of Nevada, then elevated to colonel by the Governor of California. Britain awards knighthoods.”
Edward Wright is the founder of the United States Rocket Academy and program manager for Citizens in Space. He resides in Plano, Texas. Maureen Adams is a science teacher and school principal in Killeen, Texas.
Also among the Admirals commissioned by Governor Perry was Andrew Nelson, chief operating officer of XCOR Aerospace.