Citizens for space exploration

About us

The mission of Citizens for Space Exploration is to promote awareness of the benefits of America’s Human Space Exploration Program and support for NASA.

Citizens is a multi-state organization comprised of U.S. taxpayers who support America’s investment in human space exploration. We are private citizens, small business owners, students, teachers, space and non-space business representatives, and county and municipal officials.

Citizens (formerly known as National Keep It Sold) was formed in 1992 through the efforts of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership (TX), the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (FL), the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce (AL), and the Partners for Stennis (MS and LA). In 2005, Citizens formed an alliance partnership with the Coalition for Space Exploration and in 2007, the Greater Cleveland Partnership (OH) partnered with our organization.

Representatives from Citizens for Space Exploration travel to Washington, D.C., annually to meet with members and staff to discuss the benefits of human space exploration. These benefits include:

Washington Trip

For the past 21 years, representatives from Citizens for Space Exploration have traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress or their staff to discuss the benefits of space exploration and lune phases. From June 5-7, 2012, 78 travelers from 24 states sought congressional support for national and commercial programs ensuring American leadership in space exploration. Over the course of two days, the travelers made 355 office visits.

CSE is nation’s largest pro-NASA grassroots effort

The CSE trip has grown to be the nation’s largest, pro-NASA, pro-space exploration grassroots annual trip to Washington in terms of the most congressional offices contacted. CSE is comprised of a diverse group of small and large business representatives, college students and teachers, and county/municipal officials and employees. This year 25 students and educators from colleges and universities across America gathered with the group in Washington to lend their valuable support. They were sponsored by the Aerospace Advisory Committee of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, Barrios Technology, Jacobs, the Florida Institute of Technology, and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Clear mission needed for NASA

“NASA must have a clear mission and multi-year funding to accomplish that mission,” stated Bob Mitchell, BAHEP president. He continued, “Other countries such as China and India are increasing their space exploration funding. This country - Congress - must provide adequate investment in space exploration in order to ensure national security and America’s preeminence in space. Investing in NASA is vital to the nation’s economy and leadership. Congress and this nation cannot afford to do otherwise.”

Teamwork a key to CSE’s success

Much of CSE’s continued success is due to the team effort of the CSE Steering Committee and many others who play important supportive roles. BAHEP is home to the CSE-Texas Committee, chaired by Joe Mayer, senior manager, Business Development & External Relations for Lockheed Martin. He related, “Human space exploration stimulates new, high-tech industries, creating highly-skilled, well-paying jobs across the nation. Space exploration encourages science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, while improving our quality of life.”

Braun heads Command Center

David Braun, BAHEP aerospace marketing manager, was instrumental in handling the logistics for the trip, which took months to organize. In Washington, he took responsibility for the Command Center that was established at the Westin City Center hotel to ensure that everything went according to plan. Braun said, “In this time of transition for NASA, we all feel it’s so important that Congress realizes just how vital NASA is to this country. The annual trip is a huge effort, and I am grateful to all of those within the CSE group and to our sponsors who have helped to make it so successful.”

CSE endorses multiple programs

During meetings with congressional representatives, the Citizens for Space Exploration travelers endorsed several programs including 1) the utilization of the International Space Station as a national lab through at least 2020, 2) development of the Space Launch System as a way to continue human space exploration, 3) develop the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle for deep space missions, and 4) support commercial space systems for cargo and crew to the International Space Station to reduce U.S. dependence on Russia. The student travelers and educators added to that message by stressing how important space exploration is in the promotion of STEM education and technical careers.

Congressional Reception held

Each year a Congressional Reception is held in the Rayburn House Office Building to recognize and thank those members of Congress who have been instrumental in supporting NASA and human space exploration. Attending this year’s reception were: Sen. John Cornyn; Texas Reps. Gene Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Pete Olson; as well as Rep. Bill Posey from Florida and Rep. Steven Palazzo from Mississippi.

The 22nd annual CSE trip to Washington is currently scheduled to take place May 21-24, 2013.

For more information on the work of the CSE, contact Braun at 832-536-3255 or send an email to

Washington, D.C., Trip

Much has changed in Congress over the past 23 years, but each May legislators on Capitol Hill can count on at least one constant – the annual visit by the Citizens for Space Exploration. From May 20-22, 2014, 104 travelers conducted 354 congressional visits to advance support for human space exploration and to demonstrate the existence of a large, grassroots constituency for space exploration.

The diverse group of travelers included elected officials, 34 university students majoring in engineering or related technical fields of study, industry representatives and community leaders. They broke into 26 teams consisting of a leader and two or three other travelers including at least one student. Key messages included support for NASA’s human space exploration portfolio and NASA’s role in supporting American leadership, education, innovation, health care, and quality of life, all for less than half of one percent of the federal budget. Talking points also included concern about Russia and the increasing importance of a well-funded NASA in uncertain geopolitical times.

University students are shown here with Dr. Sallie K. Janes, far left, San Jacinto College District.

Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership is home to the CSE-Texas delegation. BAHEP President Bob Mitchell stressed the importance of the 354 congressional visits that were scheduled in advance of the trip. He stated, “We don’t just drop off a folder of information. Each team sits down and talks with either the senator or representative or members of his or her staff. We educate, discuss our concerns and then answer any questions that they have. This one-on-one approach has proven to be very effective over the past 23 years.”

Joining the grassroots Citizens for Space Exploration delegation were: (standing l to r) Texas State Sen. Sylvia Garcia; Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor, San Jacinto College District and chair, BAHEP Board of Directors; Houston City Councilmember Dave Martin; and seated, Bob Mitchell, BAHEP president; and David Braun, BAHEP aerospace marketing manager and trip coordinator.

Based on their congressional meetings, the teams provided valuable feedback which included:

The Citizens for Space Exploration hosted a Congressional Reception for members of Congress and their staff on Wednesday, May 21. Nine members attended, and approximately 60 staff from both congressional offices and committees attended. Congressional attendees were:

Several travelers were instrumental to the success of this year’s trip to Washington. They included David Braun, BAHEP aerospace marketing manager, trip coordinator; Brian Freedman, manager, State and Local Government Operations, The Boeing Company in Houston, and trip chairman; and Joe Mayer from Florida, director of Government Relations with Lockheed Martin and chairman of CSE National. Braun stated, “This trip takes months of preparatory work every year, but it is so worth the effort. If we Americans want to maintain our leadership across-the-board, an important piece of that puzzle is NASA and a strong human space exploration program with definitive missions.”

There were also many local elected officials who served on the teams and assisted in making members of Congress aware of the strong support this nation has for human space exploration and the impact it makes on our lives. The elected officials included:

Trip Report (PDF)
All the way to the Moon, Mars and beyond