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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Proposed Florida Budget Includes $17 Million for Blue Origin Launch Complex

Brig. Gen. Steven Garland, 14th Air Force vice commander, left, provides remarks at a Blue Origin media event held at Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Sept 15, 2015. (Credit: USAF/Matthew Jurgens)

Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin would receive $17 million in assistance from Florida taxpayers to renovate a dormant Cape Canaveral launch complex under Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed 2017-18 budget.

The governor’s office said the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year starting July 1 includes $34 million for launch complex improvements that “will help attract more commercial activity to the area.”

Space Florida confirmed the total includes $17 million from the Florida Department of Transportation to help prepare Launch Complex 36, a state-run pad last used in 2005, into a site for Blue Origin’s giant New Glenn orbital rockets. The company also plans to build an engine test stand, incorporating the adjacent Launch Complex 11.

Blue Origin, the private space firm started by Amazon.com’s billionaire founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, will match the state’s investment, resulting in the $34 million budget figure cited by the state.

Bezos and Scott in September 2015 visited Launch Complex 36 to announce Blue Origin’s plans to build and launch rockets locally.

“The pad has stood silent for more than 10 years — too long,” Bezos said then. “We can’t wait to fix that.”

Read the full story.

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Space Florida Approves Terms of Deal With Made in Space

space_florida_logoThe Space Florida Board of Directors has approved a $3.5 million deal with Made in Space to finance the manufacturing of advanced fiber optic cable aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The board gave approval earlier this month to changes in the terms of Project ICE, which members had originally approved in January. Florida Today reports that Made in Space has confirmed it is the partner in the deal.

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Space Florida Approves Minotaur Launches From Florida

minotaur4
Minotaur IV booster

The Space Florida Board of Directors last week approved a plan to allow Orbital ATK to use Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46) at Cape Canaveral for Minotaur launches. The board instructed staff members to complete negotiations and enter into a contract with the Virginia-based company.

The board’s approval clears the way for Orbital ATK to launch the U.S. Air Force’s Office of Operationally Responsive Space’s ORS-5 SensorSat spacecraft in mid-2017.

SensorSat will be launched aboard a Minotaur IV rocket under a $23.6 million contract.

“The risks associated with operating the site and launching the vehicle are born by [Orbital ATK],” according to the board’s meeting agenda. “The Company will pay a reimbursement fee to Space Florida for all fees and costs incurred by Space Florida associated with the use of the Premises.”

SLC-46 increases the locations where Minotaur rockets can be launched to four. Orbital ATK has launch facilities for the booster in Virginia, California and Alaska.

Space Florida is eyeing SLC-46 for other launches, including or a test of the Orion abort system in 2019.

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Space Florida to Host Cape Canaveral Spaceport Master Plan Workshop on Wednesday

space_florida_logoCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Space Florida PR) Today, Space Florida announced a public workshop to request comment on its Cape Canaveral Spaceport Master Plan – Update 2016.

The plan, regularly updated to address industry developments, provides information to guide Space Florida in its efforts to modernize and expand infrastructure at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. AECOM is leading the development of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Master Plan – Update 2016 for Space Florida.

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Space Florida Pleads With Trump to Continuing Funding Major NASA Programs

Space Florida President Frank DiBello
Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Statement from Space Florida President Frank DiBello Regarding President-Elect Donald Trump

“On behalf of Space Florida, I welcome President-Elect Trump’s incoming administration and look forward to continuing our positive relationship with NASA. I have been encouraged by what I have heard of President-Elect Donald Trump’s plans for our national space program. As the incoming administration develops policies and priorities for the upcoming term, Space Florida  encourages President-Elect Trump’s incoming administration to sustain the balance of programs of record, including NASA’s Commercial Cargo and Crew programs, Space Launch System (SLS), Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion), and affiliated Ground Systems Development and Operations.

Collectively, these programs sustain the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in Florida, this nation’s premier gateway to a great future in space.”
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Space Florida Seeks Another $5 Million for SpaceX Pad Upgrades

Pad 39A Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis
Pad 39A Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

Well, this is interesting. Space Florida is seeking $5 million from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to help SpaceX pay for upgrades to Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The move will be discussed during an online-only board meeting next Wednesday.

According to meeting documents, “project match funding” from FDOT would be used for “infrastructure improvements by SpaceX.”

The move would authorize Space Florida to enter into an agreement with billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space company.

Specifically, the meeting agenda says the $5 million is needed to help fund with Phase 2 of improvements to Pad 39A. It’s not clear exactly what these upgrades entail.

The timing of this move is interesting. It’s being done at a special meeting, which means the matter came up after — or wasn’t ready to be dealt with in time for —  the last board meeting held only three weeks ago on Sept. 28.  Nor does it seem the matter can wait until the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 29.

The apparent urgency of the request might well be related to the destruction of a Falcon 9 on Pad 40 last month. The launch complex was seriously damaged by the fire and explosion. It will be out of commission for an unknown number of months.

SpaceX officials say they could use Pad 39A as early as November to launch Falcon 9 rockets while the other launch complex is being repaired. The launcher’s return to flight depends upon an ongoing investigation into why a Falcon 9 caught fire and exploded while it was being fueled on Sept. 1.

SpaceX’s is leasing Pad 39A from NASA and has renovated to handle Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches. The Falcon 9 launches will include Crew Dragon flights to the International Space Station.

Space Florida Seeking to Bring Solid Fuel Manufacturer to State

Space FloridaSpace Florida is pursuing an agreement under which a manufacturer of small solid rocket motor propellant would set up a U.S. operations at the Titusville-Cocoa Airport (TICO).

The initiative, code named Project Swanson, would bring approximately 80 jobs with an average wage of $83,000 to the state, according to the agenda for the Space Florida Board of Directors meeting on Sept. 28.

“The company is seeking third party financing for the construction of facilities and purchase of equipment,” the agenda states. “Total capital investment is estimated not to exceed $4,000,000.”

Space Florida is seeking approval from the board to negotiate long-termagreements with the company to secure land at TICO, construct and lease facilities, and acquire and lease equipment.

Space Florida is also requesting approval to secure bank financing on behalf of the unnamed company. The board will approved specific terms of the agreements at a future meeting.

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NASA, Air Force & Others Weigh in on SpaceX Falcon 9 Accident

Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)
Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)

NASA

“We remain confident in our commercial partners and firmly stand behind the successful 21st century launch complex that NASA, other federal agencies, and U.S. commercial companies are building on Florida’s Space Coast. Today’s incident — while it was not a NASA launch — is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but our partners learn from each success and setback.

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Space Florida, Israel Innovation Authority Announce Fourth Call for Projects

space_florida_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 2, 2016 (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida and the Israel Innovation Authority (OCS) have issued a new joint call for project proposals worth $2million in R&D funding.

This is the fourth year that Space Florida and the Israel Innovation Authority (OCS) are conducting the competition. In October 2013, Florida and Israel initiated an annually recurring $2 million joint program to support research, development and commercialization of aerospace and related technology projects that benefit both Israel and the State of Florida. The projects approved to date encompass a wide range of promising research, including innovative radiation shielding technology, next-generation capacitors to power spacecraft, and identifying specific changes in human muscle and immune cells to model disease in reduced gravity environments.

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Space Florida Approves Financial Measures for Blue Origin, OneWeb

space_florida_logoThe Space Florida Board of Directors approved funding measures last week to support project by Blue Origin and OneWeb. The spending includes:

  • $2.7 million for transportation improvements between Blue Origin’s launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the rocket production facility it is building at Exploration Park; and,
  • $3 million for a short-term bridge loan to OneWeb in support of a planned satellite manufacturing facility at Exploration Park.

Read the full story.

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Space Florida, Israel Award R&D Funding

Space FloridaEXPLORATION PARK, Fla., (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida, the aerospace and spaceport development authority for the State of Florida, and the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist through MATIMOP, Israel’s Industrial Center for Research and Development, announce the third-round winners of industrial research and development funding tied to the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program.

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NASA, Space Florida Invite Companies to Commercialize NASA Tech

NASA_KSC_VAB
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Space Florida PR) — Space Florida has partnered with the NASA-KSC (Kennedy Space Center) Technology Transfer Office inviting commercial industry, as well as Early Stage & Growth Stage companies, to develop and utilize NASA technology and Intellectual Property (IP) in the marketplace.

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Space Coast EDC Looks to Ensure U.S. Leadership in Space

edc_logo
Brevard County, Fla., May 16, 2016 (Florida Space Coast EDC)
– The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) has joined leading space industry associations such as the Space Foundation, Space Florida and the Satellite Industry Association in the drive to educate congressional leaders on the critical role of the U.S. space program. Long-term support of our space program benefits the nation’s economy, security, leadership and high-quality American jobs.

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Report: One Web to Build Satellites in Florida

OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)
OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

UPDATE: One Web’s Greg Wyler has confirmed that Virgin Galactic will be launching satellites out of Florida with its 747 and LauncherOne rocket. It’s not clear where they will be based, but my guess is the former Shuttle Landing Facility that Space Florida has taken over. Cecil Field in Jacksonville is another possibility.

It looks like One Web is going to be building its hundreds of satellites on Florida’s Space Coast.

A major announcement scheduled Tuesday morning is expected to confirm a high-profile startup’s decision to build hundreds of satellites on the Space Coast that will help expand global Internet access.

Space Florida’s deal with OneWeb promises to generate 250 jobs and $80 million in capital investment, including a $36 million factory to be built at Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park on Merritt Island.

Coming months after Blue Origin announced plans to build rockets in the same area, OneWeb’s arrival would further diversify a region long defined as a launch site for vehicles made elsewhere.

And it would establish Exploration Park as a major manufacturing hub near communities hit hard by the space shuttle’s retirement five years ago.