Space Florida Transforms SLC-46 for New Launch Capabilities

Athena-2 rocket at SLC-46. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEPORT (August 17, 2017) – On August 25, Orbital ATK is scheduled to launch its Minotaur 4 rocket from Space Florida’s Space Launch Complex (SLC) 46 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The launch of the ORS 5 mission for the US Air Force (USAF), will be the first launch from the pad since 1999, as well as the first since Space Florida renovated the complex.

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Space Florida Seeks to Upgrade Shuttle Landing Facility

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

Space Florida is looking update the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Growing commercial activity at Kennedy Space Center is prompting Space Florida to seek contractors to provide more fuel and new air-traffic-control facilities at the runway known as the Shuttle Landing Facility.

The need for more fuel at the runway is prompted by more cargo flights and the potential for launching more satellites from the wings of jets.

On Wednesday, Space Florida released a request for proposals from potential fuel suppliers, calling for at least two fueling trucks that carry 5,000 gallons of Jet-A fuel, or a similar capacity.

Space Florida owns the former shuttle landing strip, and is preparing it to serve launch companies operating in the area.

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OneWeb Breaks Ground on Satellite Factory at Kennedy

One Web Satellites Ground Breaking ceremony at Exploration Park. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The portfolio of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will soon include large-scale satellite manufacturing following Thursday’s groundbreaking for a 150,000-square foot spacecraft factory in the center’s Exploration Park.

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Space Florida Names FedEx Preferred Logistics Provider

Credit: FedEx

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (SpaceX PR) —Space Florida today announced that it has named FedEx as its preferred provider of logistics, transportation and cargo related services.  Space Florida maintains and operates the historic launch and landing strip—15,000 feet long and 300 feet wide—at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

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NIAC Focus: Novel Atmospheric Satellite Concept

Schematic of prototype “twin” aircraft. (Credit: W. Engblom)
Schematic of prototype “twin” aircraft. (Credit: W. Engblom)

Flight Demonstration of Novel Atmospheric Satellite Concept
NASA Innovative Advance Concepts Phase II Award

William Engblom
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Dual-Aircraft Platform (DAP) is a novel concept for achieving a low-cost atmospheric satellite in the lower stratosphere which utilizes a combination of wind and solar energy capture. DAP consists of two glider-like unmanned aircraft connected via a thin, ultra-strong cable. Long duration flight simulations have shown the platform could literally sail without propulsion, using levels of wind shear persistently found near 60,000-ft, and substantially increase the energy available for useful payload operations.

The central objective of the proposed Phase II effort is to perform autonomous proof-of-concept flight demonstrations of the DAP concept using a small-scale prototype at low altitude. Related objectives are develop specific flight maneuvers and mechanisms required for station keeping, and validate the autonomous guidance and control software.

Flight demonstrations of the sailing mode of operation, as well as all other required maneuvers for stratospheric station keeping, will be conducted using the atmospheric onshore wind shear produced at low altitudes (< 500 feet) at Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility. Optimal dates/times for flight testing will be selected based on an historical weather assessment. Off-the shelf aircraft will be modified for DAP operation. The aircraft will be remotely controlled by KSC pilots during the first year, and will gradually shift towards complete autonomous flight control in the second year. Flight software will be developed and validated within the hardware-in-the-loop DAP flight simulator at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Atmospheric satellites represent a long-standing, grand challenge to the aeronautics community, and have enormous potential societal and economic impact. Such airborne platforms are expected to diversify and expand surveillance capabilities (e.g., NASA’s earth science missions) and communications bandwidth and availability (e.g., for underserved remote areas of the US, emergency communications), at a fraction of the cost of orbital satellite networks. Successful proof-of-concept DAP flight demonstrations are expected to lead to commercial investment to build a large scale prototype.

FedEx Makes First Commercial Landing on Space Shuttle Runway

Video Caption: When a FedEx 757 landed at Kennedy Space Center’s three-mile shuttle runway, it accomplished something no other commercial aircraft has done before. It became the first commercial carrier to land on the strip, marking the start of a new collaboration between FedEx and the space industry.

Space Florida Hires New Operators of Shuttle Landing Facility

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)
The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

The Space Florida board of directors has approved deals with  The Washington Consulting Group and CSS-Dynamac to operate the former Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The space agency turned over control of the facility to Space Florida this past summer.

Space Florida officials say they were not able to reach terms with the incumbent operator, AECOM/URS. Officials are hoping to commercialize the facility.

 

NASA, Space Florida Sign Agreement on Shuttle Landing Facility

STS-135 Landing
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A new agreement marks another step in the transformation of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to a multi-user spaceport. NASA’s historic Shuttle Landing Facility, the site of one of the longest runways in the world, has a new operator.

“Our journey to Mars goes straight through Florida, and this agreement helps amplify the many ways that our critical Kennedy Space Center can support the next generation of human spaceflight,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

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Space Florida Approves Shuttle Landing Facility Agreement

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)
The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

The Space Florida Board of Directors unanimously approved an agreement with NASA today to take over operations of the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center.

Under the agreement, the state will take over responsibility for the runway’s annual operating and maintenance costs for 30 years, with extensions possible as tenants sign leases and make long-term investments in infrastructure.

Space Florida plans to spend about $5 million over the next two years to upgrade runway infrastructure that NASA hasn’t needed much since the shuttle program retired in 2011.

“This is a game-changer,” said Bill Dymond, chairman of Space Florida’s board. “This facility really is about the future, and horizontal launch and landing I think will uniquely position us to really be a leader in the future.”

Space Florida Board Approves Funding for Launch Projects

space_florida_logoFrom Edward Ellegood at the Florida SPACErePORT:

The Space Florida board of directors, during a public meeting in Tampa, approved multiple requests for the agency to proceed with proprietary partnerships and project finance deals. The board also decided to delay approval of a deal to transfer control of NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility to the state, until stakeholders in Tallahassee could be fully briefed and the outcome of state budget requests is finalized, probably within 10 days.

Project Panther (known to be Blue Origin) is approved for conduit debt financing for facilities and equipment at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, including launch infrastructure and a manufacturing operation at the state-run Exploration Park on KSC property. This project, which could employ about 200, recently received a separate inducement of $8 million from the county government.

Project Nightfall (Generation Orbit, Firefly or Rocket Lab?) is approved for a $1 million financing deal, convertible to company stock and collateralized by a 15-year lien on the company’s equipment and facilities. This will lead to Florida-based test launches of a micro-satellite launch vehicle (~200 lbs to LEO), potential Florida-based manufacturing, and Florida-based launch operations.

Space Florida, NASA Agree to Terms on Shuttle Landing Facility

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)
The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

Space Florida has worked out terms with NASA to take over the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA Kennedy Space Center:

Space Florida anticipates spending $200,000 a month over the first two years to operate and develop the site, or nearly $5 million, according to a summary of the deal included in board meeting materials.

The state would assume responsibility to operate and maintain the runway for 30 years with options for extensions, according to the materials.

Space Florida has been negotiating with NASA for nearly two years to transfer KSC’s three-mile runway, where it hopes to attract companies designing spacecraft that take off and land horizontally like aircraft.

Space Florida’s board postponed a vote on the deal on Wednesday due to uncertainty over the state budget. Legislators are schedule to go back into session on Monday to deal with unresolved issues.

FSDC Urges Florida Legislators to Focus on Key Space Priorities

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

FSDC PR — The Florida Space Development Council has urged elected officials to provide more support to the space industry during the ongoing Florida Legislative Session. FSDC President Gabriel Rothblatt asked Senate and House leaders to take steps to diversify the state’s involvement in space research and technology development; continue financing programs for space industry growth; fund conversion of the Shuttle Landing Facility for new programs; establish a high school space education academy; and fund a demonstration program for space tourism and point-to-point spaceflight.

The five issues were prioritized by FSDC’s membership through an online survey. They were conveyed in letters to the Senate President, House Speaker, and appropriation subcommittee chairs.

A copy of the letter is below.

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Status of Florida Space Legislation

space_florida_logoTALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 24, 2015 (FSDC PR) – Space Florida’s budget is in play during the ongoing Legislative Session in Tallahassee. The agency typically receives $10 million for its operations, which the House has budgeted, but the Senate offers only $8 million this year. Furthermore, the Senate’s budget language would prohibit any spending on the Shiloh launch site  until after an FAA environmental impact report is issued, vetted by Florida’s environmental agency, and a summary shared with the Cabinet and legislative leadership.

Another Senate amendent seeks to prohibit Space Florida spending for the operation of federal spaceport assets without first being reviewed by the state’s military support organizations to ensure the infrastructure will be available for military purposes. Also, the Senate would take an additional $2 million from Space Florida’s operating budget to fund Cecil Spaceport infrastructure. The House would fund the Cecil investments at the same amount, but without earmarking it from within Space Florida’s budget.

Meanwhile, an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University program for high-school based Aerospace Institutes would receive $3 million in the House budget and $6.5 million in the Senate’s. And a Florida Tech space research institute would receive $2.5 million in the Senate’s budget.

FSDC 2015 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE SPACE ISSUES
ISSUE/BILLHOUSE STATUSSENATE STATUSCOMMENTS*
Space Florida Ops Budget ($10M)Included in House Trans. and Econ. Development (TED) Appropriations budgetSenate budget includes $4M recurring & $4M nonrecurring, for a total of $8MIncluded in Gov. Scott’s budget request, with $4M of recurring funding and $6M non-recurring. Senate budget seeks a 20% cut to Space Florida’s longtime budget amount.
Space Florida Financing/
Investment Fund
$5 million included in House TED budgetNot included in the Senate budget
Provided in 2014 but not included in Gov. Scott’s 2015 request. May be a legislative priority.
Space Transportation
Infrastructure Funding
“TIP” program funded at $15M in 2014 within FDOT budget allocation. Status unclear for 2015.
Shuttle Landing Facility Transition ($2.5M)Proviso earmark of $2.5M in 2014, and intended for two years by sponsoring legislators. Status unclear for 2015.
Cecil Spaceport Infrastructure ($2 Million)Included in House budgetIncluded in Senate budget, but earmarked from Space Florida’s operating budget.Not included in Gov. Scott’s request, but budgeted by House and Senate, same amount as last year.
Space Industry Tourism Funding ($1.5M)Included in House TED budgetIncluded in Senate budgetIncluded in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding for coordination with VISIT Florida to support tourism attractions and space tourism flight business.
Florida/Israel Joint Aerospace Development ($1M)Included in House TED budgetIncluded in Senate budgetIncluded in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding of joint aerospace projects with Space Florida and Israel.
Qualified Defense/Space
Contractor Tax Refund
EDTS package extends application period thru 2017, local govt must pay 20%Incentive program requires statutory change to renew application window for companies to qualify for refunds.
Quick Response Training (QRT) Incentive
Supported in 2014 by Gov. Scott. Status unclear for 2015.
Embry-Riddle high school aerospace academies $3M budgeted
$6.5M budgetedSupported by Gov. Scott in 2014 as a recurring budget item to support/expand network of high school aerospace academies. $3M was approved in 2014.
Florida Tech space research institute
$2.5 million budgetedSimilar to a request from last year ($500K approved) and from 2013 ($2M vetoed).

* Note: Most budget items are subject to the Governor’s line-item veto authority.

Florida Legislative Space Priorities Come Into View as Session Nears

space_florida_logoFebruary 23, 2015 (FSDC PR) — Florida’s 2015 Legislative Session will begin on March 3 and end on May 1 in Tallahassee. The biggest task for elected officials will be to approve a $77 billion spending plan, including millions of dollars for space-related programs. Governor Rick Scott in January revealed his proposed budget, which includes $12.5 million for Space Florida programs.

The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) has tracked the progress of annual space-focused funding and policy issues in Tallahassee. FSDC is gearing up for the 2015 Session with an updated chart of space-related issues, a chart that is sure to evolve several times over the next two months.

FSDC 2015 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE SPACE ISSUES
ISSUE/BILLHOUSE STATUSSENATE STATUSCOMMENTS*
Space Florida Ops Budget ($10M)Included in Gov. Scott’s budget request, with $4M of recurring funding and $6M non-recurring.
Space Florida Financing/
Investment Fund

Provided in 2014 but not included in Gov. Scott’s 2015 request. May be a legislative priority.
Space Transportation
Infrastructure Funding
“TIP” program funded at $15M in 2014 within FDOT budget allocation. Status unclear for 2015.
Shuttle Landing Facility Transition ($2.5M)Proviso earmark of $2.5M in 2014, and intended for two years by sponsoring legislators. Status unclear for 2015.
Space Industry Tourism Funding ($1.5M)Included in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding for coordination with VISIT Florida to support tourism attractions and space tourism flight business.
Florida/Israel Joint Aerospace Development ($1M)Included in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding of joint aerospace projects with Space Florida and Israel.
Qualified Defense/Space
Contractor Tax Refund
Incentive program requires statutory change to renew application window for companies to qualify for refunds.
Quick Response Training
(QRT) Incentive

Supported in 2014 by Gov. Scott. Status unclear for 2015.
Embry-Riddle high school aerospace academiesSigned by Governor in 2014 as a recurring budget item to
support/expand network of high school aerospace academies.

* Note: Most budget items are subject to the Governor’s line-item veto authority.