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.)
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.
Jacksonville, FL (May 9, 2012 — Space Florida PR) – Today, Space Florida and The Florida Chamber of Commerce honored Senate President and Representative of District 26 (Melbourne) Mike Haridopolos and Speaker of the House and Representative of District 35 (Winter Park) Dean Cannon for prioritizing the Space Industry over this years budgeting process. Over the past three legislative sessions, President Haridopolos and House Speaker Cannon have delivered over $80 million to Florida’s Space Industry and passed countless laws to aide economic development entities, such as Space Florida.
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.
GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT TO ANNOUNCE LOCAL BUSINESS EXPANSION
Significant Near-Term Employment Anticipated
WHO: The Honorable Rick Scott, Governor of Florida Hon. Mike Haridopolos, Florida Senate President Gray Swoope, Secretary of Commerce, State of Florida and President & CEO, Enterprise Florida, Inc. Frank DiBello, President & CEO, Space Florida Hon. Harry Goode, Mayor, City of Melbourne Lynda Weatherman, President & CEO, Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast
WHAT: Announcement of the expansion of an established, Melbourne-based company resulting from an ongoing partnership between Enterprise Florida, Space Florida and the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. In addition to business facility expansion, it is anticipated that this Melbourne-based company’s growth will result in significant job creation in the near term.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. (Please note: attendance is by “invitation only”)
WHERE: Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place 200 Rialto Place Rialto Ballroom “C” Melbourne, FL 32901
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.
There’s some potentially good news for the hard-hit Space Coast.
A “rocket propulsion systems” company is considering locating its facilities in Titusville, a move that would create more than 2,200 direct and spin-off jobs, according to Florida Today.
The identity of the company is being kept secret, with it being referred to as “Project Speed” in city and county documents. Titusville, Brevard C0unty and Space Florida are working to put together a package of tax incentives for the company, which is also considering three other sites outside of Florida. (more…)
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL (October 11, 2011) – Today, Space Florida President Frank DiBello and Rees Ward, A|D|S Group, Ltd., CEO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further enhance business development opportunities between Florida and the UK in the aerospace sector.
A|D|S Group Ltd. is the only UK-based trade organization recognized by the UK government as the association responsible for advancing the UK aerospace, defense and security industries. A|D|S encompasses the British Aviation Group (BAG) and also claims Farnborough International Unlimited (organizer of the Farnborough International Air Show) as a wholly owned subsidiary.
In Texas, an informed consent bill that would require spaceflight participants to sign waivers acknowledging the risks they face has passed the Senate by a 31-0 bill. The measure, which now heads to the House, gives commercial space operators protections from being sued in the event of injuries or deaths resulting from flights.
Meanwhile, Apollo moon walker Charlie Duke and shuttle astronaut Kay Hire were part of a 70-member delegation that descended upon Tallahassee yesterday to lobby for more financial and legislative support for the Florida Space Coast’s ailing economy.
The group lobbied lawmakers in favor of Space Florida’s $10 million budget and a series of incentives intended to lure new businesses to the state, which faces massive layoffs as a result of the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. The fate of those measures remain uncertain as the Legislature struggles to close a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.
Funding for Space Florida to improve infrastructure and offer incentives to help lure business to the area would drop significantly under Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year.
But the agency would compete for a pool of incentive and development funds the governor plans to consolidate, possibly allowing it to recoup some or all of the agency’s proposed $21 million cut, a state lawmaker said…
One of the keys to Bigelowâ€™s success is an exemption from International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restrictions. â€œOur aerospace company is the only aerospace company in the United States that is ITAR-exempt. That was not easy. We achieved that a while back,â€ [Robert] Bigelow told about 150 community leaders and journalists gathered to hear his pitch for the Space Coast. The event was organized by Space Florida, a state-backed agency.
A bit more on the Bigelow-Space Florida MOU, which was signed at an event yesterday at Cape Canaveral. It looks as if the actual cooperative venture is relatively modest in the near term, but potentially quite lucrative in the long run — providing state officials play their cards right and ante up.
Florida Today reports on optimism about an economic rebound in the Sunshine State:
While the space industry will shed up to 6,000 jobs in the next several years, Space Florida President Frank DiBello believes that within three years, up to half of those lost jobs can be replaced by the completion of deals that are under way.
“We’re looking at somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 (jobs) that I can see,” DiBello said in a Monday interview with FLORIDA TODAY’S Editorial Board.
DiBello also met with Governor-elect Rick Scott on Monday and said he foresees no problems working with the businessman turned politician who is touring the state this week.
On September 22, 2010, the Department of Commerce â€“ Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded Space Florida $400,000 for development of a strategic economic development strategy for Floridaâ€™s Space Coast Region, to include Brevard and surrounding counties. Space Florida will provide an additional $100,000 in matching funds to the project.
The President’s Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development, co-chaired by NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, today released its report to President Barack Obama with recommendations to enhance economic development strategies along Florida’s Space Coast.
The task force was charged with developing a plan for how best to invest $40 million in transition assistance from the federal government in the Space Coast region as the space shuttle program winds down.