A top NASA official will be visiting UND next week, Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., announced Friday, Aug. 30.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will come to Grand Forks to visit the university’s space program with Cramer on Wednesday. They also will be visiting the Grand Sky Park.

“Grand Forks is well-known as a premier location for space exploration research and emerging space technology. Jim’s visit gives him an opportunity to meet with the folks developing space exploration suits at UND on their turf and to see the many other achievements in aerospace and unmanned systems at Grand Sky and the university,” Cramer said in a statement.

Bridenstine was nominated to the position by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2018. He is NASA’s 13th administrator.


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Cramer and Bridenstine will begin the day meeting with UND interim President Josh Wynne and aerospace stakeholders before touring UND’s space program and meeting with students.

UND is one of the few universities in the world to offer human spaceflight training and is the first university to operate a NASA-funded laboratory dedicated to designing and constructing space-exploration and planetary surface exploration suits.

David Dodds, UND spokesman, said the university is excited to host Bridenstine and Cramer.

“We’re excited to show off our space legacy, everything from the stuff that astronauts wear when they go into space to the study of the geology of other planets,” Dodds said, noting UND has done significant research on many topics related to space.

Dodds said this is just one in a series of “big-time” visits the university has had recently, including officials from the U.S. Department of Energy.

“It’s a wonderful time that people are taking notice of the research taking place here at UND and how we can help the nation and the world with that research,” he said.

Afterward, they will depart for Grand Sky, where they will tour the Northrop Grumman facility and the General Atomics facility after receiving updates on the Unmanned Traffic Management systems testing and Beyond Visual Line of Site operations.