Tag: Space Florida

Space Florida-Israel Partnership Announces R&D Funding


KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., July 20, 2015 (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida, the Sunshine State’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, and the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist through MATIMOP, Israel’s Industrial Center for Research and Development, today announced second-round winners of industrial research and development funding tied to the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program.

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Cape Canaveral Launch Complex Revived


space_florida_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida, the Sunshine State’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, today announced that its Cape Canaveral launch facility at LC-46 will soon be roaring back to life as a multiuser launchpad for customers employing smaller rocket systems.

Space Florida has already started renovating Launch Complex 46 in preparation for several customers lined up to use the historic facility located at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Recently, Space Florida completed installation of a state-of-the-art communication and data system.

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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.

Blue Origin’s Long Winding Road to a Launch Site

At Blue Origin’s West Texas facility, the BE-3 engine demonstrated a full simulated suborbital mission profile, igniting, throttling, and restarting on command. (Credit: NASA)

At Blue Origin’s West Texas facility, the BE-3 engine demonstrated a full simulated suborbital mission profile, igniting, throttling, and restarting on command. (Credit: NASA)

Florida Today has a report on Blue Origin’s efforts to secure an orbital launch site, which could be wrapped within the next month. Florida is one of several states vying to become a manufacturing and launch site for Jeff Bezos’ rocket company.

The state’s revised proposal would have Blue Origin set up a manufacturing site in Exploration Park, a planned research and industrial complex outside KSC’s south gate, and launch from Launch Complex 36, a state-run pad on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Talks about the so-called Project Panther initially focused on the state’s proposed Shiloh commercial launch complex, which straddles the Brevard-Volusia border on property NASA shares with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. A rocket factory would have been located in nearby Oak Hill in southern Volusia County.

Like SpaceX, which plans to build a private launch complex in Texas, Blue Origin believes commercial launchers need facilities outside NASA or Air Force control to thrive, just as commercial aviation operates independently from military bases.

Speculation about the company’s pursuit of operations at Shiloh and in Volusia County began in February when the owner of a 400-acre property in Oak Hill sought a zoning change to permit manufacturing.

Shiloh opponents, upset by the project’s secrecy and worried it might involve hazardous operations near the refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, fought the zoning change.

KSC, which is touting its transformation into a multi-user spaceport, instead encouraged the company to consider alternatives outlined in KSC’s master plan. The plan suggests two locations for commercial launch pads near the center’s two existing pads.

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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.

Space Florida Ops Budget ($10M) Included in House Trans. and Econ. Development (TED) Appropriations budget Senate budget includes $4M recurring & $4M nonrecurring, for a total of $8M Included 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 budget Not 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 budget Included 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 budget Included in Senate budget 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 House TED budget Included in Senate budget Included 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 budgeted Supported 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 budgeted Similar 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.

Ardusat Secures $1 Million in Seed Funding

Arusat deployed from the International Space Station.

Arusat deployed from the International Space Station.

  • Seed round will finance expansion of Ardusat platform, enabling K-12 and higher ed students to conduct science and technology experiments in space and on earth
  • Edtech startup also announces launch of an open data repository, where students can post experiment results for public academic use

SALT LAKE CITY (Ardusat PR) — Ardusat, an education company focused on enhancing student engagement through hands-on experimentation, today announced it has secured a total of $1 million in seed funding from Space Florida, Fresco Capital, Spire and other investors. The capital will finance the expansion of Ardusat’s Experiment Platform, which enables K-12 and higher education students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through custom experiments conducted in space or on earth.

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