The City of Titusville, Florida / Community Development / Economic Development / NewsSpace Coast needs to 'Keep the pressure on' to benefit from commercial space
SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft with solar array fairings attached, stands inside a processing hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The spacecraft will launch on the upcoming SpaceX mission to the International Space Station.
TITUSVILLE — The emerging commercial space industry ultimately will create a new wave of wealth in the
U.S., and Florida’s Space Coast is well positioned to benefit.
But an industry captain told community leaders Wednesday that they need to continuously push to draw new
commercial space business to the historic birthplace of U.S. space exploration.
“I really think that commercial spaceflight represents a pretty big economic engine, not just for advancing us in
human spaceflight, but also for whatever regions are aggressive in attracting companies to build, or maintain, or
operate out of their areas,” Michael Lopez-Alegria, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, told
dozens at a Space Coast Economic Development Commission luncheon.
“And, I think you guys get it. You have a lot of advantages already. You’ve got, obviously, the preeminent launch
complex in the world right next door. You’ve got a lot of skilled labor. You have a great heritage, and there are
things that sort of naturally geographically attract people,” said Lopez-Alegria.
“That said, you need to keep the pressure on. You need to think about all of these aspects of what might be
attractive to companies, and that obviously goes to economic incentives and that sort of thing.”
Lopez-Alegria led a special panel discussion on commercial space flight at La Cita Country Club. His spaceflight
credentials are impressive. Lopez-Alegria holds the U.S. record for the longest single spaceflight, 215 days, the
most spacewalks, 10, and cumulative spacewalking time, 67 hours and 40 minutes.
Also on the panel:
• Todd Lindner, senior manager for spaceport development and planning at the Jacksonville Aviation Authority
and Cecil Field Spaceport.
Lindner spoke about hurdles that had to be overcome to obtain a commercial spaceport license from the Federal
Aviation Administration. Ironically, differing views from different FAA offices – the Office of Commercial Space
Transportation and the FAA office that operates the National Airspace System – were among obstacles
encountered, Lindner said.
• Tom Engler, deputy director of the Center for Planning and Development at Kennedy Space Center.
Engler discussed the bureaucratic complexities involved in converting the storied launch operations center from a
federal government enclave to spaceport used by both government agencies and commercial companies. NASA is
working with 50 different entities that are interested in locating operations at KSC, he said. The Boeing Co., for
instance, plans to manufacture and assemble its CST-100 commercial space capsule in a former shuttle hangar –
Orbiter Processing Facility 3.
• Michael Powell, CEO of the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority. Powell’s organization operates Space Coast
Regional Airport and Arthur Dunn Airpark in Titusville as well as Merritt Island Airport in central Brevard
County. A Utah rocket and aerospace technology company, Rocket Crafters, is moving its headquarters to Space
Coast Regional Airport.
The airport authority is want to expand their system to include NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility.
“The airport authority is ready for any particular partnership that the powers-that-be decide on. We could go out
there and handle things right now, today.”
Written by Todd Halvorson FLORIDA TODAY