Florida state incentives and spaceports

[Catching up on some older material while stuck at the airport]

Last week a committee of the Florida Senate unanimously approved four bills designed to provide various incentives for the space industry in the state. SB 2526 supports the development of an initiative to diversify the state’s space industry. SB 2458 would create a “Space and Aerospace Development Infrastructure Enhancement Fund”. SB 2666 would include “space flight contractors” into an existing tax refund program for defense contractors.

The fourth bill, SB 2426, is described in the Florida Today article above as providing $15 million to “refurbish a launch complex at Kennedy Space Center”. The text of the legislation is more vague, though: it makes available $15 million “to respond to extraordinary economic opportunities in the space and aerospace business sectors, to address the need for space and aerospace business facilities and infrastructure, and to compete for key space and aerospace businesses interested in entering into partnerships with the state.” The bill provides a mechanism for Space Florida to submit such projects for consideration, but doesn’t specify any one particular project.

That is interesting, because for the last couple of months KSC has been pushing a proposal to develop a new commercial launch facility on property it has. One proposed location is on KSC land that is also part of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. That met with sharp opposition from environmentalists and others, including fishermen who were concerned that their access to a local beach would be restricted, particularly during launch operations. An Orlando Sentinel editorial last month was sharply critical of the proposed launch complex, arguing that NASA should instead work with the Air Force to gain access to abandoned launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (ignoring an alternative site proposal on KSC property but in not nearly as sensitive a location.) Of course, that editorial was published before the news that thousands of KSC jobs would be lost when the shuttle is retired; one wonders if that assessment changed a few minds about the proposed KSC launch complex.

3 comments to Florida state incentives and spaceports

  • Ray

    There’s also an RLV prize (The Florida Prize for Space Exploration) bill SB 2310. It also has some non-space content.

    Florida Impact Statement:

    Broward Politics commentary:

    bill status:

  • I can’t quite figure SB 2310 out. It suggests that the rules are modeled after the XPRIZE but I can’t see how those rules would help Florida specifically. There has to be something in there about companies that setup shop in Florida. Also, as many have suggested in hallway conversations, this bill may be setup for a particular company in mind. But that would mean the XPRIZE like rules would make that problematic.

    Does anyone have any insight into the who and why of this bill?

  • Ray

    I for one don’t have any special insight into the bill beyond what’s in the links I gave above. I suppose it’s possible they figure advances in RLVs are bound to help Florida, and they’re willing to sponsor it on that basis. However, my gut feeling is there would be some Florida-specific tie-in. The Florida Google Lunar X PRIZE $2 million prize boost, for example, is contingent on the winner launching from Florida. (I’m not sure why they wouldn’t give a similar incentive for a 2nd place launch, especially if the $2M wasn’t awarded to 1st place – a launch is a launch after all and the $2M would be an even bigger factor for a 2nd placer – but the way I read it it’s for 1st place only).

    However, one thing I’ll note is, if I’m reading my legalese correctly, the bill seems to be moving ahead in recent days. See the “bill status” link in my comments above.

    Note the following from the summary, though: “The bill also creates a $40 million prize ($20 million contributed by the state) to encourage the
    invention of a reusable space vehicle that could be used to replace the Space Shuttle. However, this bill does not appropriate any state funds for this prize.”

    The 4 other bills Jeff mentioned in the original post all seem to be moving ahead another step or 2 in recent days, again assuming I’m correctly interpreting what I see when I look up those bills on the “bill status” website – which is a fairly big assumption since I have no legal or political background.

    Also, you can see the status of SB 2438 “Relating to Spaceflight/Informed Consent” on that same “bill status” page. RLV News has a post on it here with a Florida Today link (and a hat tip to Jeff’s

    It would be cool for someone (Action for Space?) to have some kind of “one stop shopping” to find out the status of these various state-level space bills.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>