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.
Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp has challenged Barack Obama to a debate over the proposed new direction for NASA during the President’s visit to Florida on April 15. In an open letter sent to newspaper editorial pages, he writes:
The president has scheduled a “space summit” in April here in Florida. The “health care summit” the president recently moderated amounted to nothing more than the exchange of political talking points. As a state, and as a nation, we cannot allow the space summit to become another political forum with no real effort to find a solution that is in the best interest of the country.
High-tech training industry says it could absorb many shuttle job losses Orlando Sentinel
With thousands of Space Coast workers facing unemployment as the U.S. space-shuttle program winds down, Orlando’s high-tech military-training industry says it has jobs for many of those who will be displaced.
But work-force officials in Brevard County aren’t convinced the region’s training-simulation companies will have nearly enough openings for those expected to lose their jobs when shuttle launches end at Kennedy Space Center. Even if such jobs materialize, there is not enough money, so far at least, to retrain space workers to fill them, Brevard officials say….
The Orlando Sentinel reports on efforts by Space Florida President Frank DiBello to turn around his moribund state agency and help stem the job losses that will hit the Space Coast when NASA retires the space shuttle:
He has canceled consultants’ contracts, fired his Washington-based lobbying firm, abandoned â€” at least for now â€” the agency’s ambitious plans to create a public-private spaceport and is cutting staff. He has also refocused the agency on projects â€” however small â€” that can create jobs and preserve at least some of the launch and high-tech rocket-processing skills that have been honed during the past three decades.
Our views: Lawmakers must press case for space support Florida Today
The Space Coast unemployment rate is clocking in at 11.4 percent, a number thatâ€™s taking a brutal toll on individuals and families struggling to survive. Now imagine the impact a 13 percent jobless figure, or higher, would have on our community.
Thatâ€™s what is looming when the shuttle program ends next year and eliminates about 7,000 jobs at Kennedy Space Center, plus as many as 21,000 more as businesses that rely on NASA paychecks cut workers or shut their doors.
Space Coast economic leaders propose using Shuttle Logistics Depot for military refurb work Orlando Sentinel
Space Coast economic leaders are asking NASA to allow a private company the indefinite use of a building full of high-tech equipment in the hope of saving hundreds of high-skill jobs when the space shuttle program ends.
It will likely be 2011 before Brevard County’s beleaguered real estate industry recovers, a process slowed by the county’s reliance on sectors hit hard by the ongoing recession, a leading Florida economist said Tuesday.
“The Space Coast is fairly weak, or weaker than average, because of the contraction in the space program and the dependence on tourism and retirement,” Orlando-based economist Hank Fishkind said in a telephone conference Monday discussing the findings of his annual three-year economic forecast. “Unfortunately, those are the sectors that are most affected by this particular recession we’re having in the United States.”
“A successful launch could mean more than 100 additional jobs in the space industry, which is threatened by the end of the shuttle program.
“But success isn’t guaranteed. SpaceX’s smaller, single-engine rocket racked up three failed launches before a fourth launch attempt reached orbit from an island in the Pacific. SpaceX, however, hopes for immediate success with the larger rocket, which uses technologies refined from the four launches of the smaller version…”
“Started with a $100 million investment from Internet tycoon Elon Musk, SpaceX has attracted the $278 million in NASA funding and at least $20 million in private investment, as well as payments for cargo on some of its failed flights.”