An editorial in today’s Orlando Sentinel discusses the current state of Space Florida, the state space development agency. For those who missed the events last week, a search committee picked former NASA deputy administrator Shana Dale as the agency’s new president, a decision that caused consternation among some Space Coast officials, who backed interim president Frank DiBello, a local businessman with a long record in the aerospace industry. Then, just before the full Space Florida board was scheduled to make a final decision on the job, Dale took herself out of the running for the job. The board then voted to name DiBello the permanent president.
Happy ending? Well, not exactly, in the eyes of the Sentinel. Citing “lackluster results” during the tenure of previous agency president Steve Kohler, “the recent bungling by some board members in choosing a new president raises nagging doubts about whether the agency is finally on track,” the Sentinel argues. “It’s a good argument for legislators to continue to keep a close eye on Space Florida.” The editorial is also keeping a wary eye on DiBello, noting that Space Florida “has not yet announced any major accomplishments during his interim leadership.” What they’re looking for is Space Florida to bring business, and jobs, to the Space Coast to help offset the losses expected when the shuttle is retired, be that in 2011 or later.