What Did CSA Accomplish in Promoting California’s Space Industry?

The Pacific Coast Business Times has a post mortem on the California Space Authority, the recently dissolved non-profit group whose role was to promote the Golden State’s space industry. Among the findings:

  • Although the group collected hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from private companies, its main source of income was from federal and state governments
  • CSA collapsed after it lost a $5 million federal grant and could not secure a $1.6 million earmark to stay in operation
  • CSA oversaw a $15 million Labor Department grant for an “innovation corridor” that “produced only reams of reports and plans that largely have not been put to use”
  • The group’s oversight of the Labor Department’s Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) program was either (depending upon whom one asks) an “overreach” that was focused to broadly to produce results, an “incredible effort to identify innovation,” or a well-intentioned program that fell afoul of changing political priorities in Sacramento and Washington
  • CSA abandoned its efforts to build a $200 million California Space Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base after the authority belated realized it would need to comply with Santa Barbara County’s strict environmental reviews.

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California Space Authority Dissolved

June 6 turned out to be D-Day for the California Space Authority.

CSA’s board of directors voted unanimously to dissolve the struggling non-profit organization, which promoted the state’s aerospace industry. CSA ceased operations on Friday. Media reports indicate that the decision came after $5 million in federal funding did not come through.

In a brief email sent out on Friday, the CSA said:

The CSA staff, past and present, have been honored to serve you in the effort to maintain and increase space enterprise within the state of California. We thank you for that opportunity and wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Thank you.

The dissolution puts an end to CSA’s ambitious effort to construct the California Space Center. The facility was to have been placed on the grounds of Vandenberg Air Force Base; however, the site review criteria were too burdensome. CSA had been negotiating with officials in the nearby town of Lompoc to build it there.

CSA Abandons Effort to Locate Space Center at Vandenberg, Evaluates Alternate Site

CSA PR — SANTA MARIA, CALIF. — The Board of Directors for the California Space Authority (CSA), a statewide non-profit organization,  has voted to terminate the organization’s pursuit of a long-term lease at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB).  CSA began its pursuit of an Air Force lease for development of the California Space Center on VAFB in February 2004.

The CSA Board of Directors also voted to explore the possibility of moving the California Space Center to a site within the City of Lompoc.
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CSA Moves Forward on New Space Center

CSA has selected Specialty Construction of San Luis Obispo as the apparent successful offeror to complete the first phase of the California Space Center. The first phase will include preparations of the 71-acre site, including the removal of existing concrete pads and the installation of basic utilities.  Contract negotiations are scheduled to begin on January 28.  Specialty Construction was one of six companies that submitted formal proposals for the first phase.  Work under the contract is scheduled to begin the first quarter of 2011.

The Center is to be built on a 71-acre site in northern Santa Barbara County that is part of Vandenberg Air Force Base, but accessible to the public on California Highway 1. Upon completion, the Center will include a rocket garden, educational facilities, an outdoor amphitheater, a large format indoor theater, a cultural heritage center, and a business park.

California Space Authority is a nonprofit organization supporting California’s commercial, civil and national security space stakeholders. Governed by a statewide board of directors, CSA works closely with the State of California, industry, other government, education, workforce entities and academia to support space enterprise development and expansion statewide.

California Space Center Advances, Secures SpaceX and OSC as Tenants

CALIFORNIA SPACE AUTHORITY PRESS RELEASES

Two aerospace companies have reserved space at the Mission Support Center of the California Space Center (CSC). The CSC will be built on a 71-acre site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County. The companies – SpaceX and Orbital Sciences — have requested a total of more than 25,000 square feet for offices and a command and control center. The first phase of the Mission Support Center will include about 100,000 square feet of Class-A office space a mile from the front gate of VAFB on Highway 1.

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