Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), visited Morehead State as part of the W. Terry McBrayer Presidential Lecture Series in Government and Leadership Thursday, Feb. 20.   

Bridenstine was joined on his visit by NASA Scientists Andres Martinez and Tim Pham; U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, and staff from the offices of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. The guests toured the Space Science Center and spoke to faculty, staff and students about the aerospace research being done there. MSU has been involved in the launch of five NASA-funded satellites: CXBN, CXBN-2, Lunar ICEcube, Ky-Sat 2 and the DM-7 Flight Demonstration.  

“The NASA administrator’s visit to the Space Science Center at Morehead State University provides significant validation of the Center as an internationally-recognized leader in small satellite and space mission operations research,” said Dr. Ben Malphrus, executive director of the Space Science Center. “Having these NASA Administrators visit our campus says a great deal about the importance of the University’s contributions to NASA’s exploration efforts.”  

During his lecture, Bridenstine discussed how NASA will reach the moon through its Artemis program, saying Morehead State is an essential partner in the country’s return to the moon and space science innovation.  

“The NASA administrator’s public talk was inspirational,” Malphrus said. “Bridenstine has a clear view of the direction of NASA’s human and robotic exploration of the solar system. He graciously acknowledged the contributions made by Morehead State University to these efforts. It was a landmark day for our Space Science program.”  

Bridenstine was sworn in as NASA’s 13th administrator in April 2018. Bridenstine was elected to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, where he served on the Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.   

The McBrayer lecture series is named in honor of MSU alumnus W. Terry McBrayer (59), who provided a generous gift to the University, which supports the lecture series and student scholarships. McBrayer is a lobbyist, attorney and former politician in Lexington. A native of Greenup County, he graduated from MSU and attended the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville. He was elected to the MSU Alumni Hall of Fame in 1966 and was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in 1975.   

For information about MSU’s space systems engineering program, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/study/spacesystemsengineering, email b.malphrus@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2381.