Lobbying, States

Space Day returns to Florida

Today, as Florida legislators ramp up their activities for the 2012 session, they’ll be visited by representatives of the state’s space industry for Florida Space Day. This annual event is designed to raise awareness among legislators of the industry and advocate for measures to help support it. As the Space Florida release suggests, industry will both try to demonstrate that Florida is a leading state in the industry, but has room to grow.

This year, Florida Today reports, Space Day participants will press for passage of three relatively modest bills designed to support the state’s commercial space industry. One would formally recognize Cecil Field in Jacksonville, which already has an FAA spaceport license, as a spaceport. Another would revise the definition of “spaceport facilities” to make them eligible for state transportation funding. A third would change how Space Florida gets funding from the legislature, giving the state agency the money for specific projects up front to improve efficiency. None of the bills proved to be particularly controversial in recent committee hearings, Florida Today noted.

12 comments to Space Day returns to Florida

  • DCSCA

    Quaint… and very 1990′s.

  • amightywind

    Modesty is something our current space program has in spades.

  • vulture4

    Typically Florida politicians want their own taxes slashed, but at the same time want more federal tax dollars to come to them. As to Space Florida, it is not clear what actual value they add as middlemen between KSC/CCAFS and the launch companies, and it is hard to see how such a small organization can spend so much on its own staff. They do take credit for anything that gets done.

  • vulture4 wrote:

    Typically Florida politicians want their own taxes slashed, but at the same time want more federal tax dollars to come to them. As to Space Florida, it is not clear what actual value they add as middlemen between KSC/CCAFS and the launch companies, and it is hard to see how such a small organization can spend so much on its own staff. They do take credit for anything that gets done.

    Well, right now Space Florida is acting as the go-between for a lot of lease agreements between NASA and the private sector. For example, the recent lease of OPF-3 to Boeing for the CST-100. Technically, NASA leased the facility to Space Florida, and Space Florida leased it to Boeing.

    Rumor has it a similar arrangement might be in the works with Stratolaunch for the shuttle runway.

    My guess is that there’s some sort of legal advantage for doing it this way. Perhaps federal law prevents NASA from directly leasing a facility to the private sector. I dunno. Or maybe there’s an advantage from a liability perspective.

    In any case, Space Florida is a major player right now in bringing commercial space to Brevard County.

  • vulture4

    I don’t want to be a nihilist; Space Florida was created to get launch operators to come to Florida, and I have no way of estimating how effective they are. Both Boeing and SpaceX are apparently going to launch commercial crews from the Cape, although Florida has Obama’s Commercial Crew program to thank for it, not the tax-slashing Florida governor. But the Air Force did lease Cx 41 and 37 directly to Lockheed and Boeing (later ULA) and NASA has claimed for years that it wants to make facilities directly available for commercial activities and has the ubiquitous Space Act agreement as a mechanism for doing so. Space Florida did provide a mechanism for the state to provide about $30M to SpaceX, but given the size of Musk’s investment it’s hard to see this making a difference.

  • This morning’s Florida Today on Space Florida incentives to encourage microgravity research flights in Florida:

    http://www.floridatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012301120033

    Space Florida named three flight providers that have expressed interest in the program: Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif.; Zero-G Corp. of Arlington, Va.; and a partnership between Kennedy Space Center-based Starfighters Inc. and Star Lab, a project led by 4Frontiers Corp. of New Port Richey.

    The incentives are the latest step in efforts to establish Florida as a hub for microgravity research, part of a broader strategy to diversify space operations after the shuttle.

    I keep saying that microgravity is the next Gold Rush. This is more proof.

  • amightywind

    I keep saying that microgravity is the next Gold Rush. This is more proof.

    Starfighters Inc. That’s a name I haven’t seen on the big board. Has our experience with high speed rail or green energy taught you nothing? This is proof of nothing except government hacks love to try to invent industries and pick winners.

  • Regarding vulture4′s comment:

    Space Florida is essentially empowered like an airport authority, to own, operate, finance, lease, and maximize access to space transportation infrastructure. The Air Force and NASA may (sometimes) wish to provide such services, but historically they have not been able to do it, due to statutory and other limitations.

    In addition to assisting SpaceX, Space Florida (or its predecessor agencies) actually arranged over $300M in leaseback financing for the Atlas-5 launch pad infrastructure, and did a similar leaseback deal for the Delta-4 Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) for about $30M. They are/were actually the owner-of-record for those facilities. They also built and/or own the Space Life Sciences Lab at KSC, and other facilities like Launch Complex 46 and the RLV Hangar at the Shuttle Landing Facility.

    NASA now understands that they are not best suited to act as a spaceport authority for many underutilized assets at KSC. Rather than lease them directly to individual companies, it is more prudent to rely on a group like Space Florida to strike deals with industry to operate/maintain them, whether for commercial or government programs.

  • vulture4

    Ellegood makes some valid points. I stand (soemwhat) corrected.

  • Ellegood wrote:

    Space Florida is essentially empowered like an airport authority, to own, operate, finance, lease, and maximize access to space transportation infrastructure. The Air Force and NASA may (sometimes) wish to provide such services, but historically they have not been able to do it, due to statutory and other limitations.

    Thanks, I was hoping you were lurking out there.

    Breaking news … President Obama is coming to Orlando on Thursday January 19 to talk about the economy. This would appear to be related to the Florida Republican presidential primary on January 31. No indication he’ll make it 45 miles east to the Space Coast.

  • DCSCA

    Obama delivered his administration’s space policy address for the U.S. at KSC two years ago this April.

  • DCSCA

    “Breaking news … President Obama is coming to Orlando on Thursday January 19 to talk about the economy. This would appear to be related to the Florida Republican presidential primary on January 31. No indication he’ll make it 45 miles east to the Space Coast.”

    He talked tourism, joked with Mickey Mouse and didn’t say a thing about space. As noted earlier, the Obama Administration has already made clear what its space policy is in an address at KSC almost two years ago. That’s not going to change in Term 1. It’s out of his in box, handled, stamped, indexed and filed.

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