OPINION: Space – An economic engine for Florida
Florida has been at the leading edge of our Nation’s space program, dating back to 1950 when Cape Canaveral became the location from which America’s space flights began with the launch of a Bumper 2 rocket. History was also written when Alan Shepard became the first American in space as his Freedom 7 spacecraft launched from Florida in 1961.
Proudly, Florida continues to be the primary center of space launches for the United States. Florida benefits from this distinction as aerospace businesses bring high-tech, high-wage jobs to the state and we must continue to innovative in order to maintain this competitive edge.
Florida is expecting to launch more than 30 commercial, DOD and NASA payloads in 2018. As Floridians, we are proud to be at the forefront of the nation’s space launch activity. Our future looks bright as NASA’s Space Launch System starts launching in 2019. Commercial activity – from SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Orbital ATK, Blue Origin and others – will also contribute to Florida’s sustained preeminence in launch operations.
The Space industry is not doing this alone. Florida leaders have played an extraordinary role in ensuring aerospace companies and the Federal Government continue to invest in manufacturing facilities in Space Florida-managed Exploration Park, which sits just outside the gates of Kennedy Space Center. Recently-built facilities include OneWeb, which will employ about 250 people at Exploration Park, and Blue Origin, who will bring close to 500 high-tech jobs to the area.
Although the launch activity happens in the Space Coast, growth in the space business arena benefits all of Florida. More than 150,000 Floridians directly work in our State’s space industry and all 67 Florida counties contribute to this multi-billion dollar industry which contributes over $20 billion dollars to our state’s economy.
Florida is fortunate to have the skills and talent to ensure the United States raises to the challenges of this new space era with a high-tech ready workforce, innovative use of existing space infrastructure, a robust educational system and unmatched quality of life. With the help of Florida leadership, we aim to create additional high-tech/high-pay jobs, scientific discoveries, business opportunities, and encourage our next generation of Floridians to pursue exciting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
As the chairman of this year’s Florida Space Day, scheduled for February 14 in Tallahassee, I will be joining industry leaders, universities, and other aerospace supporters to champion the important role the space industry brings to our State. We look forward to this important discussion, to the celebration of our exciting past, and to the challenge of working toward a new era of innovation and enterprise.
The preceding is a press release produced by SpaceFlight Insider sponsor Space Florida
The preceding is a press or news release either issued by one of the space agencies or by an aerospace firm or organization. The views expressed in the above post do not necessarily reflect those of SpaceFlight Insider.