Good news and the prospect of additional jobs are arriving on Florida’s Space Coast at the speed of innovation. Last week, on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy Space Center, I joined Florida Senator Bill Nelson, Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, and officials from Lockheed Martin for the unveiling of the first Orion capsule that will carry our astronauts farther into space than any human has ever traveled. The work leading up to Orion’s first test flight in 2014 is expected to support at least 350 Space Coast jobs. This week, the Space Coast economy got another boost when Rocket Crafters, Inc. (RCI), a Utah-based company, announced plans to move its budding high-tech aerospace business to Brevard County. The company expects that by 2017-18, it will have about 1,300 highly skilled aerospace workers, including former space shuttle employees.
RCI holds licenses for advanced hybrid rocket and aerospace composite technologies, as well as proprietary hybrid rocket design and analysis software. The company plans to develop new suborbital flight technology that would enable the completion of an intercontinental journey in about one-sixth the time it takes a conventional airplane.
This is further evidence that the Space Coast is open for business and positioning itself for the next era of space exploration. In addition to Orion’s arrival at Kennedy Space Center, NASA has recently facilitated agreements with the Boeing Company, Craig Technologies and others to use Kennedy facilities and equipment. And SpaceX recently became the first commercial firm to launch a successful resupply mission from the Space Coast to the International Space Station.
A year after the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles, the work force at Kennedy is remaking America’s gateway to space. Over the past three years, President Obama has fought to invest almost $1.4 billion in NASA’s 21st Century Space Launch Complex and Exploration Ground Systems.
As a result, a dynamic infrastructure is taking shape, one designed to host many kinds of spacecraft and rockets sending robotic spacecraft and people on America’s next adventures.
By investing in American companies—and American ingenuity—we are spurring free-market competition to give taxpayers more bang for the buck, while enabling NASA to do what it does best—reach for the heavens. We are also ending the out-sourcing of American space jobs and bringing them right back to Florida and other states all across the country.
This strategy is producing tangible results and our teams in Florida and across the nation are making steady progress.