By Dave Berman, Florida Today
Port Canaveral will be spending nearly $18 million on the first phase of a cargo berth project that will help provide facilities for the commercial space industry.
That will include areas for the recovery and reuse of rockets.
This project is part of $78.96 million in proposed projects related to a “spaceport” component of Port Canaveral’s 30-year master plan that port commissioners unanimously approved last week.
At the same meeting, port commissioners unanimously approved a staff recommendation to award a $17.92 million contract to Orion Marine Construction Inc. of Tampa for improvements to North Cargo Berth 8. Orion was the low bidder from among 12 contractors seeking the project.
Port officials say North Cargo Berth 8 could be used by commercial space companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin to support their operations. The berth also is designed as a “heavy lift” operation that can support other types of cargo movements.
The $78.96 million in proposed spaceport projects listed in the port master plan includes:
- $43.26 million in projects at North Cargo Berth 8.
- $24.50 million in projects at North Cargo Berth 7.
- $11.20 million to create work boat lay berth areas for spaceport operations.
Luis Ajamil, chief executive officer of Miami-based Bermello Ajamil & Partners, the consulting firm that prepared the master plan for the port, stressed the importance of the spaceport area in his presentation to port commissioners last week.
“The port has been historically vital to the space program,” Ajamil said in the presentation. “The operational concepts of commercial space companies
utilizing water landings of their rockets makes the port a critical component — as important as the launch pads at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Thus, it is imperative that the port have capability to support the needs of this strategic industry which is so vital to Florida and the nation. This industry, still in its nascent years, has potential needs which are yet to be fully determined.”