Space Florida Gets $90 Million Grant to Replace Bridge, Road Improvements

EXPLORATION PARK, Fla. (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida is moving forward on a $90 million infrastructure improvement grant recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The grant will support three interrelated projects, including replacing the aging SR 405 bridge over the Indian River Lagoon, widening Space Commerce Way, and revitalizing a 3.7-mile stretch of NASA Parkway West. The project is expected to take approximately five years to complete.

With the award in place, Space Florida and its partners from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center can now move forward with the project. The grant, which is part of DOT’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America INFRA) program, will support growing aerospace industry and launch activities at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The current bridge will be replaced with two new high-span bridges, and the widening of the roadways will facilitate launch traffic, simplify transport of oversized launch hardware, and improve access for visitors.


Space Florida Seeks Another $5 Million for SpaceX Pad Upgrades

Pad 39A Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
Pad 39A Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Well, this is interesting. Space Florida is seeking $5 million from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to help SpaceX pay for upgrades to Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The move will be discussed during an online-only board meeting next Wednesday.

According to meeting documents, “project match funding” from FDOT would be used for “infrastructure improvements by SpaceX.”

The move would authorize Space Florida to enter into an agreement with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space company.

Specifically, the meeting agenda says the $5 million is needed to help fund with Phase 2 of improvements to Pad 39A. It’s not clear exactly what these upgrades entail.

The timing of this move is interesting. It’s being done at a special meeting, which means the matter came up after — or wasn’t ready to be dealt with in time for —  the last board meeting held only three weeks ago on Sept. 28.  Nor does it seem the matter can wait until the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 29.

The apparent urgency of the request might well be related to the destruction of a Falcon 9 on Pad 40 last month. The launch complex was seriously damaged by the fire and explosion. It will be out of commission for an unknown number of months.

SpaceX officials say they could use Pad 39A as early as November to launch Falcon 9 rockets while the other launch complex is being repaired. The launcher’s return to flight depends upon an ongoing investigation into why a Falcon 9 caught fire and exploded while it was being fueled on Sept. 1.

SpaceX’s is leasing Pad 39A from NASA and has renovated to handle Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches. The Falcon 9 launches will include Crew Dragon flights to the International Space Station.

A Final Accounting of Florida Space Spending

space_florida_logoThe good folks at the Florida Space Development Council have provided this handy final report on the fates of space initiatives during the current legislative session. It was a good session overall, with most objectives achieved.

In all, Gov. Rick Scott approved $22 million in space spending, includes funding for Space Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Institute of Technology, Cecil Field Spaceport, Shuttle Landing Facility, space tourism marketing, and a partnership with Israel. The spending package also includes millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements and economic development incentives for companies relocating or expanding in Florida.

Space Florida Ops Budget ($10 Million)Funded at $14.5M in House/Senate conference budgetFunded at $14.5M in Senate/House conference budgetSigned by governor.
Space Florida Financing/Investment Fund ($7M)Funded at $5M in House/Senate conference budgetFunded at $5M in Senate/House conference budgetSigned by governor. $2M less than in 2013. Funding for financing deals for aerospace expansion projects.
Space Transportation Infrastructure Funding ($20M)$20M is in FDOT annual work program through 2018$20M is in FDOT annual work program through 2018Continued funding within FDOT budget for “TIP” program. $15M minimum is included in FDOT budget allocation.
Shuttle Landing Facility Transition ($2.5M)Allowed in Financing/
Investment Fund line (above)
Allowed in Financing/
Investment Fund line (above)
Proviso earmark. Funding to transition/promote SLF for new commercial and govt users. $2.5M/year for two years suggested.
Cecil Field Spaceport Infrastructure ($2M)Added to Space Florida ops budgetAdded to Space Florida ops budgetProviso addition. Funding for Cecil Field spaceport infrastructure. Added to budget in conference committee.
Space Industry Tourism Funding ($1.5M)Fully funded within Space Florida ops budgetFully funded within Space Florida ops budgetSigned by governor. Recurring budget item to support tourism attractions and space tourism flight business.
Israel Joint Aerospace Development ($1M)Fully funded within Space Florida ops budgetFully funded within Space Florida ops budgetSigned by governor. Continued funding of joint aerospace projects with Space Florida and Israel. Included in Gov’s budget request.
Quick Response Training (QRT) Incentive ($12M)Fully funded in House budget
Fully funded in Senate budget proposalSigned by governor. Workforce training incentive managed by Workforce Florida. Included in governor’s budget request.
Embry-Riddle high school aerospace academies ($1M)Funded at $3M in House/Senate conference budgetFunded at $3M in House/Senate conference budgetSigned by governor. Recurring budget item to support/expand network of high school aerospace academies in Florida increased to $3 million.
Florida Tech space transportation research ($500K)Added to Space Florida ops budgetAdded to Space Florida ops budgetProviso earmark. New funding request for research on “efficient commercial space transportation system.”
Qualified Targeted Industry (QTI) Incentive Carry-ForwardHB-1209 bill died in committeeSB-1422 bill died in committeeWould have allowed more than one year for QTI recipients (including aerospace firms) to use tax credit allowance, or sell credits to other firms.
Governor’s School for Space, Science & Technology ($500K)Added to budget in conferenceAdded to budget in conferenceVetoed by governor. Continued funding for a space & technology school program for gifted students.

Space Florida Gets Stable Budget, Infrastructure Funding and Tax Credits

Tallahassee, FL (Space Florida PR) – Aerospace-related economic development remained a top priority for the State lawmakers during the 2012 Legislative Session, with Space Florida’s current $10 million budget remaining stable through the upcoming fiscal year. As part of this commitment, a first-time award of $4 million in recurring funds was also approved for the organization.

In addition to Space Florida’s budget, several critical, aerospace-related bills were passed that will result in significant benefits to Florida’s aerospace industry, including: