SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch turns tide of Florida’s Space Coast economy
By Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch on Tuesday has the Space Coast buzzing about a return to the heady days of the shuttle program, with businesses ready to take advantage of the surge in interest, economic leaders say.
“No question that other companies around the world, they are looking at establishing facilities in Florida so they can be near the center of space activity,” Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello said. “We want to drive all of those to create tourism and job opportunities for next-generation engineers and the space workforce.”
But the comeback will take time.
“It’s a slow turn,” Craig Technologies CEO Carol Craig said. “But as soon as SpaceX or whoever puts an astronaut in one of those, that will be where you are really going to see the place go nuts and see a resurgence.”
…Both SpaceX and Boeing are scheduled to launch test flights of crew capsules in August.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said after the launch that the company already has several commercial customers lined up and should start to compete for larger military deals soon.
“If there is a big national-security satellite due for launch in three to four years, we’ll probably have a dozen or more launches done by then,” Musk said.
The launch showed the region remains one of the most important in the industry — and is diversifying its role in the space business.
“The Falcon Heavy launch brought global attention to what we already know here in Brevard County – that the coast is transforming from mostly a launch site to a hub for the space industry,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.
Blue Origin plans to add 330 jobs at a rocket-production facility set to open this year.
OneWeb, meanwhile, plans to add 250 jobs at its satellite-production site and RUAG will add 60 positions at its facility……
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