Release (Public Subsidies for) the Kraken: Florida Competes for Spacecraft Factory

Florida Politics reports the Sunshine State is seeking to lure a company code named Kraken to locate its $300 million spacecraft factory to Brevard County. The project would create about 2,000 mostly high-paying jobs.

Space Florida’s board of directors gave approval Wednesday to staff to negotiate with the company to have a satellite factory located near the agency’s launch sites on Cape Canaveral.

Those negotiations could involve creative financing, lease deals, and possibly matching-fund grants from the Florida Department of Transportation.

Space Florida President Frank DiBello told the board Space Florida has competition for the factory from other states.

My best guess is that Kraken refers to Jeff Bezos’ Kuiper Systems. The company was established to develop a broadband satellite constellation composed of 3,236 satellites.

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Ozmens’ SNC Dream Chaser® Spaceplane Closer to Commercial Runway Landing

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev. February 8, 2021 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security company owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, is a step closer to landing the world’s first commercial spaceplane on U.S. soil. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST) awarded the re-entry site license to Cape Canaveral Spaceport Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) in Florida at request of the state’s aerospace economic development agency, making it the first commercially licensed re-entry site. Dream Chaser, America’s Spaceplane®, will service the International Space Station (ISS) under a NASA contract in 2022; the vehicle will return from the ISS to a runway landing for the first time since NASA’s space shuttle program ended in 2011.

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Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Finalization of Federal Grant for Space Coast Improvements

MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (Space Florida PR) – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the final signing of Florida’s $90 million Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant. This announcement was applauded by Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez, Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello, NASA, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. as well as space industry partners at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This grant agreement will be used to enhance the connectivity and mobility of Florida’s Space Coast.

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Spaceport Upgrades Launch Kennedy Into Record-Setting Future

An aerial view of the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 13, 2021. The High Bay 3 in the VAB is where NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft will be stacked on top of the mobile launcher before it is rolled out atop crawler-transporter 2 to Launch Pad 39B for launch on the agency’s Artemis I mission. (Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

By Heather L. Scott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

As quickly as the crewed commercial rocket lifted off the launch pad and into the night sky, a new type of space race had begun.

The November 2020 launch of astronauts from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on the first operational mission by a commercial company was the culmination of a new form of government and industry cooperation – an example of how vibrant and diverse American space activities have become.

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FAA Issues Commercial Space Reentry Site Operator License to Space Florida

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

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) — After completing an assessment of potential environmental impacts, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Space Florida’s application for a commercial space Reentry Site Operator License (RSOL) at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) in Titusville, Fla.

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Space Florida Looks Back on a Busy Year

EXPLORATION PARK, Fla. (December 23, 2020) – Today, Space Florida shared the many accomplishments of Florida’s aerospace and commercial space industry in 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida’s Cape Canaveral Spaceport kept launching rockets. In May, the world watched as American astronauts lifted off from Florida for the first time since 2011, marking a new era of human spaceflight and commercial space exploration. The aerospace industry represents a key part of the State’s strategy for post-pandemic economic recovery, and Space Florida has good reason to be enthusiastic about the future of aerospace.

“Despite the challenges that COVID-19 brought to the State, our industry and our organization, Space Florida is pleased to have had a successful year of growth within the aerospace industry here in the State of Florida, with support from Governor DeSantis as well as our Board Chair and Lieutenant Governor Nuñez,” said Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello. “Space Florida is working with other economic development partners to create an energized driving force in recruiting these companies to the Sunshine State. The future of this industry is very bright, representing an increasingly important segment of Florida’s economy.

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Space Florida Reaches Milestone on Redevelopment of Space Launch Complex 20, Signs Lease with Firefly

EXPLORATION PARK, Fla. (Space Florida PR) — As Space Florida continues re-development of Space Launch Complex 20 (SLC-20) at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport as a multi-pad commercial launch site and home to Firefly Aerospace’s east coast launch operations, a significant milestone was reached in October with Space Florida’s completion of an Environmental Assessment encompassing modernization of facilities and high-cadence launch operations from the site.

Completion of this critical environmental review enables Firefly’s continued development and future operations at SLC-20, while ensuring that such activities pose no significant impact to the treasured natural assets of the spaceport.

Additionally, in October, Space Florida’s Board of Directors authorized Space Florida to enter long-term lease agreements for the site with the 45th Space Wing and Firefly, marking another important milestone in the ongoing transformation of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport into a hub for commercial space operations.

Space Florida would further like to congratulate Firefly on completion of acceptance testing and delivery of the first Alpha launch vehicle to Vandenberg AFB in preparation for the company’s initial launch.

We look forward to a successful mission as Firefly emerges as a leader in the small launch market, and continues preparation of both the SLC-20 launch site and the company’s new high-volume automated rocket factory in Space Florida’s Exploration Park at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

Space Florida, Florida Venture Forum Announce Winners of Aerospace Innovation & Tech Forum

Exploration Park, Miami and Tampa, Fla. (Space Florida/Florida Venture Forum PR) – Space Florida and the Florida Venture Forum are pleased to announce Archangel Lightworks, Agriculture Intelligence, Inc., and Vital Vio as the top three winners, respectively, of the 2020 Aerospace Innovation & Tech Forum.

Aerospace and innovative tech companies from related industries were invited to apply to present in a first-ever web-based competition for the Space Florida Accelerating Innovation (AI) awards, totaling $100,000. Twenty presenters were selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants by a committee of active venture investors.

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Rubio, Scott, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan American Space Commerce Act

Sen. Marco Rubio

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Marco Rubio PR) — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral American Space Commerce Act of 2020. At a time when the U.S. has steadily decreased its dependence on foreign rockets and launch infrastructure, the American Space Commerce Act would bolster U.S. leadership in the space industry, enhance public-private partnerships with American companies, and further increase U.S. innovation.

U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL) and Charlie Crist (D-FL) introduced the House version of the legislation (H.R. 6783). The legislation is supported by the Aerospace Industry Association, Blue Origin, Boeing, Space Florida, SpaceX, and ULA.

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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.

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Space Florida, Florida Venture Forum Announce the 2nd Annual Aerospace Capital Forum

Miami, Exploration Park and Tampa, Fla., September 11, 2019 (Space Florida/Florida Venture Forum PR) – Space Florida and the Florida Venture Forum, Florida’s largest statewide support organization for investors and entrepreneurs, are pleased to announce the Florida Aerospace Capital Forum, taking place on November 6th at the Guidewell Innovation Center in Lake Nona, Florida.

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Space Florida, Israel Space Agency Sign Cooperation Agreement

Tel Aviv, Israel (Gov. Ron DeSantis PR) – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis participated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing between Space Florida and the Israel Space Agency. The Governor, Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello, and Mr. Avi Blasberger, Director General of The Israel Space Agency, were all on hand for the signing, which took place at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.

Also in attendance were Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Enterprise Florida, Inc. President & CEO Jamal Sowell, Space Florida Vice President of Research and Innovation Tony Gannon, Chairman of the Israel Space Agency Major General Isaac Ben-Israel, Israel Minister of Science and Technology Ofir Akunis and Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology Ran Ber.

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Firefly Aerospace Signs Deal with Space Florida to Establish Operations & Launch Rockets from Cape Canaveral

Firefly Aerospace and Space Florida officials announce partnership. (Credit: Space Florida)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEPORT, Fla. and CEDAR PARK, Texas, Feb. 22, 2019 (Space Florida PR) – Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft and in-space services, announced today the execution of a binding term sheet with Space Florida, under which Firefly will establish business operations at Cape Canaveral Spaceport, including launch operations at historic Space Launch Complex 20 and manufacturing facilities at Exploration Park, Florida. Firefly’s announcement is concurrent with its receipt of a Statement of Capability from the 45th Space Wing.

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Space Florida Negotiating with Unidentified Launch Company

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Space Florida is closer to a deal with an unidentified launch services company to bring 239 jobs to the Space Coast.

Space Florida’s Board of Directors approved a request to finalize negotiations with an undisclosed company under code name “Project Maricopa” Tuesday during its quarterly meeting in Orlando. Because of the competition involved in the deal, Space Florida will not reveal the name of the company until terms are complete.

Under the planned deal, the Florida Department of Transportation will reimburse 50 percent of what the company spends on common infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, up to $18.9 million. In exchange, the company will commit to investing $52 million in Florida….

Space Florida has been in talks with the company for the past year, ironing out a deal that would include launch services at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s launch complex 20 and a manufacturing facility at Exploration Park, the state-run complex near Kennedy Space Center.











Bill Nelson Concedes Senate Race to Rick Scott

Florida Senator Bill Nelson

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has conceded the Senate race to Republican rival Rick Scott after a recount. Scott, who is leaving his job as Florida governor, won by 10,033 votes out of more than 8.1 million cast.

Nelson, who has been a strong supporter of NASA, has held the Senate seat for 18 years. He previously served in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1991.

During his time in the House, he flew into space as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1986.

Scott has also been a strong supporter of the space program during his time as governor. Space Florida, which serves as the state’s space agency, has spent millions of dollars on infrastructure improvements and other incentives at Cape Canaveral to lure commercial companies to operate there.

Nelson was one of three prominent space advocates to lose re-election bids. Rep. John Culberson. Republican lost his bid to continue representing Texas’ 7th district. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) will also be departing after 30 years in the House.