An Update on Space-Related Legislation in Florida

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

May 6, 2013 (FSDC PR) – Amid increasing competition from other states and nations for space-related economic development, the Florida Legislature stepped up yet again to expand and diversify the state’s aerospace industry. In total, the Legislature approved over $43 million in space-related investments for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

“The Florida Space Development Council appreciates the Legislature’s dedication to positioning our state for an exciting future of space exploration and enterprise,” said FSDC President Laura Seward. “We especially want to thank those legislators who led the charge on specific initiatives, like Rep. Steve Crisafulli, Sen. Andy Gardiner, Sen. Dorothy Hukill, Sen. Thad Altman, Rep. Will Weatherford, Sen. Don Gaetz, and Rep. Debbie Mayfield.”

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Florida Space Development Council Backs Spending Priorities

Florida Gov. Rick Scott
Florida Gov. Rick Scott

May 13, 2013

The Honorable Rick Scott
Governor of Florida
The Capitol Building, PL-05
300 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32301

Dear Governor Scott:

The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC), a statewide membership organization affiliated with the National Space Society, was recently formed to provide grassroots advocacy for policies we believe will support the continued development and diversification of Florida’s aerospace industry.

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Texas, Florida Battle for SpaceX Spaceport


It looks like we’ve got a bidding war going for the location of SpaceX’s commercial spaceport:

Sanchez said at Thursday’s Commissioners Court meeting that the BEDC [Brownsville Economic Development Council] and the state are offering SpaceX $3 million each for a total of $6 million in efforts to attract the business to Cameron County. He said Florida is offering $10 million.

“We’re behind in the race,” Sanchez said at the meeting.

Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have long been reported as candidates for the SpaceX project.

SpaceX spokeswoman Katherine Nelson on Thursday stated the following: “SpaceX is continuing to look at all possibilities for a private launch facility, including sites in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. We are still in the early stages of the review process.”

Read the full story.

Obama Talks Space in Florida

President Barack Obama made a campaign swing through Florida over the weekend. Below are excerpts from a White House transcript of remarks he made at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne relating to space, science and technology funding, and competitiveness.

THE PRESIDENT: Here on the Space Coast, we started a new era of American exploration that is creating good jobs right here in this county. (Applause.) We’ve begun an ambitious new direction for NASA by laying the groundwork for 21st century space flight and innovation. And just last month, we witnessed an incredible achievement that speaks to the nation’s sense of wonder and our can-do spirit — the United States of America landing Curiosity on Mars. (Applause.)

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Report: XCOR to Establish Lynx Production Facility, Operational Base in Florida

Lynx mockup. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Florida Today reports that XCOR will establish its Lynx production facilities and an operational base on the Florida Space Coast, most likely at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center:

The California company expects to create 152 jobs with this operations and manufacturing business, which it will announce at 10 a.m. on Aug. 23 at the Astronaut Encounter Theater at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

[…]

Space Florida, the state’s space economic development group, has committed to investing up to $3 million in XCOR. And in late July, Brevard County commissioners approved $182,400 in incentives to help the company open a facility at KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility. According to the company, the project would include hangar and flight operations, vehicle manufacturing, engine assembly and space tourism elements.

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Brevard County Commissioners Approve Economic Development Plan

Brevard County commissioners have recently approved the Economic Development Plan for the North Brevard Economic Development Zone. The plan focuses $18 million in resources over 10 years to help develop the area, which has been hard hit by the end of the space shuttle program. A summary of the plan follows that is taken from the plan.

The Challenge

  • Projected layoffs affecting North Brevard have impact of $100 million in annual income
  • Each job lost at KSC has a ripple effect of an additional 1.8 jobs
  • More than 50 percent of land in North Brevard is exempt from property taxes and therefore what would be key commercial and industrial areas are unable to be developed.
  • North Brevard Area has 20 percent of the population, but only one tenth of the county’s taxable value.

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Florida Space Coast EDC President Rips 60 Minutes Report

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

Rockledge, Fla. (EDC PR) — On April 1, 2012, CBS’s 60 Minutes broadcast a story about the Space Coast and aftermath of the Space Shuttle retirement.  While our economic challenges are real, the story failed to offer a balanced view and this community’s tremendous efforts to mitigate the effects of the Shuttle retirement.  Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast President & CEO Lynda Weatherman’s response to the broadcast is below, in a letter sent to the 60 Minutes mailbag.

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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:

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Video Report on Cecil Field Spaceport

Florida is close to designating Cecil Field as a spaceport, which would allow the Jacksonville-based facility to access state funding and companies there eligible for tax breaks.

Video: Florida Gov. Scott Signs Space Transportation Bill

Video Caption: Gov. Rick Scott signed the Senate Bill 634 Thursday, which is expected to make it easier for Space Florida to access state and federal transportation money to improve launch facilities.

Scott held a ceremony in his Capitol office for the signing, the first bill to be signed this year, with sponsors Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, who also serves as chair of Space Florida.

Aerospace Alliance Meets to Plot Strategy for Southeast

Northwest Florida Daily News has a report on the recent summit by the Aerospace Alliance, a public-private partnership of business and economic development leaders from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. It sounds they had a lot of ideas but not much concensus:

[Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer] Carroll said one of the biggest challenges her administration has dealt with since taking office is where to go with the space program now that space shuttle flights have ended. The space program is a $65 billion industry in Florida that is responsible for about 700,000 jobs, and Carroll was adamant the program wasn’t going away.

“The space shuttle ended. Fine, we move forward,” Carroll said. “During the time the shuttle had its last launch, the media said, ‘The shuttle program is over, space is finished.’ No it’s not, and many of you know we’re far from finished. There’s too much at stake for intelligence and our national security to no longer be a part of the space and aerospace industry.”

However, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey disagreed with Carroll’s assessment. McCaffrey said the space industry is central to the entire armed forces, but that America’s military advantage will disappear if it is not the leading space power on Earth.

“The space program is a disaster,” McCaffrey said during a press conference at the summit. “I would argue right now we’re No. 2 in space. The Russians are in a slight lead. We’ve got to do something about it.”

The Aerospace Alliance has posted the presentations made during the summit.

KSC, Space Coast Economic Development Commission Renew Partnership

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

NASA PR — CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and the Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida’s Space Coast are formally renewing their economic development partnership. NASA and EDC managers signed a new five-year Space Act Agreement on Monday at Kennedy that outlines economic development cooperation aimed at supporting NASA’s current and future missions.

“The Kennedy Space Center appreciates our relationship with the EDC of Florida’s Space Coast and looks forward to continuing our strong partnership with this agreement,” said Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana. “It’s the people of the Space Coast that have made Kennedy a success over the decades, and it’s our hope that working with the EDC and other partners will help us and the surrounding communities continue to be successful.”

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Green Energy Taking Root on Florida Space Coast


In addition to rebuilding Florida’s aerospace industry, state officials are also bringing clean energy technology companies to the Space Coast. The Sunshine State’s abundance of strong winds and…well, sunshine make it an excellent location for clean energy.

In recent weeks, Space Florida has:

  • led a new investment round in Cella Energy Limited, an UK hydrogen fuel company that is setting up shop in the state-built Space Life Sciences Lab at the Kennedy Space Center;
  • received a federal grant to build up the clean energy industry.

In addition, a private company in Palm Bay, Advanced Magnet Lab, has received federal funds to develop the next generation wind turbine.

Details follow after the break.

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Space Florida Calls for Infrastructure Projects

Space Florida PR — Kennedy Space Center, FL (May 20, 2011) – Each year, Space Florida submits a list of project priorities to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for consideration in preparing a five-year work program in partnership with local Transportation Planning Organizations (TPOs). This five year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) serves as the basis for receiving Federal and State transportation funds for aerospace-related projects. (more…)