“Nagging doubts” about Space Florida

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.

3 comments to “Nagging doubts” about Space Florida

  • space cadet

    The history of space authorities in Florida is a long and sordid tale. Each one ruined by incompetent leadership, then disbanded, then resurrected with a different name. “Space Florida” is at least the fourth try. Several Florida academic/research institutes focused on space have also failed and been disbanded or faded into obscurity.

  • Robert Oler

    Not being a local it is hard to know what the real problem is…but…

    one of the big issues has to be what kind of human spaceflight program is going to exist in the future vrs the past.

    Is it going to be a government run/private industry cooperates in…or are there going to be real private enterprises for whom real incentives are important?

    the big difference there is does the organization just act as a lobby group to Congress (see Boeings campaign to save the C17) or does it really have to work to entice people/companies to come to South Florida.

    there is a difference

    Robert G. Oler

  • Al Fansome

    New Mexico is leading the pack, and showing up all the other commercial spaceports. They are investing ~$200M in developing the infrastructure needed by Virgin Galactic.

    The State of Florida has not shown any real leadership in, or commitment to, bringing private space industry to Florida. Yet.

    Frank DiBello has significant experience in commercial space. Hopefully, he can bring a new approach to Florida with that knowledge and experience.


    – Al

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