Florida's Space Industry Struggles to Survive

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, FL -- April 26, 2012 --

For 50 years, it's been a critical part of Florida's economy. But now our space industry is struggling to survive. The retirement of the shuttle program has left thousands of workers jobless. And, it's also called into question whether Florida's days as America's pre-eminent space state are over.

After 30 years and more than 130 missions, the space shuttle program has disappeared into history. And now the talent, technology and patriotism that helped drive it may be in jeopardy of disappearing, too.

Tim pickens works at dynetics, a NASA contractor in Huntsville, Alabama. He's committed to reviving Florida's space industry, not least because his company depends on it. Now that manned missions launching from Cape Canaveral are no more...He says it'll be up to a handful of private space flight companies to help inspire a national movement.

"People are going to say, 'NASA, what's the vision? Where are we going?' and then, they need to be looking at air breathing technology, you know, hypersonics, and you know, 'how do i get my ride from New York to LA In 15 minutes?'

Pickens says only the government can pioneer that kind of technology, and if enough people ask for it, Washington will pay for it.
But, there's no guarantee manned launches will return to Florida.
That's why Farrukh Alvi spearheads a research hub aimed at using space technology in other ways.

"I suspect that Florida will not be the only one that's going to be launching things - Texas, New Mexico and others. But, you need to have a more diverse economy, so even if it's very successful, you do not want to just invest in there - you need to diversify."

Areas like green energy and biotech - they could be a big part of america's economic future. And, in the end, blasting off from Texas and New Mexico may not be possible...Because of Florida.

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  • by Frederic Location: NY, USA on Apr 27, 2012 at 06:47 PM
    It's time of Florida's Space Industry to start the development of fusion-powered starship. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSkxPghXTCg
  • by not these days on Apr 27, 2012 at 02:37 PM
    With the debt being what it is, I'd say another trip to the Moon should be out of the question. Build weather satellites, spy satellites, GPS satellites but the days of manned space flights need to stop until we can recover.
  • by Fact on Apr 27, 2012 at 02:04 PM
    Obama diverted NASA funding into welfare funding. Do some research people.
  • by dog Location: gone on Apr 27, 2012 at 06:37 AM
    You vote for the CHANGE and that is what you get. Don't be FOOLED AGAIN.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2012 at 06:05 AM
    Florida never had any stake in the space program except in the operational end, never in the research end. Florida never did the research. Florida never had the universities or the brains to do the research. Florida never had anything like Jet Propulsion Laboratories, or Goddard Space Flight Center, or Ames Research Center, or MIT. Florida lost jobs, I guess, when Eastern Airlines, National, and Pan American went out of business and basically the same kind of jobs were lost now that NASA's operational presence in Florida is less.
  • by GV Location: Ga on Apr 27, 2012 at 05:14 AM
    Thanks obama.
    • reply
      by truth on Apr 27, 2012 at 06:01 AM in reply to GV
      The state is broke, the country is broke, but yet you want to waste trillions of dollars to go into space!!! FOR WHAT!!!! you sound like a typical tea party republican, complain about the economy, and spending, but yet spend like there is no end on what you want to spend !!!!WOW
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2012 at 07:16 AM in reply to truth
        You don't know what broke means and you also don't know what a trillion is. A trillion dollars is 50 years of NASA budgets. If the country is broke please tell me the day the country went broke. If the country has always been broke I'd guess it doesn't matter if it is now broke. If the country has not always been broke, tell me the last day the country was not broke. Your post is basically one nitwit responding to another.
        • reply
          by truth on Apr 27, 2012 at 09:04 AM in reply to
          Hey I was just saying the same thing Fox News, and the tea party republicans are saying!!! so you need to stop blaming President obama for breaking this country!!
        • reply
          by get it??? on Apr 27, 2012 at 09:25 AM in reply to
          Jan19, 2009: The last time the USA was not "broke"
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2012 at 08:14 PM in reply to truth
        Trillions of dollars in the space program a waste of money? Tell me do you feel that way when you or a family member have a mammogram taken? That is part of the technology that came to being because of the space program's research. Start researching things before you blog "truth" otherwise we will not think you have any sense.
    • reply
      by Jane on Apr 27, 2012 at 07:19 AM in reply to GV
      President Obama had nothing to do with this. Is your hatred of the man really so great that you can't see anything in the world without it?
      • reply
        by Anon on Apr 27, 2012 at 02:02 PM in reply to Jane
        Obama slahed the NASA budget and proclaimed "The main objective is for NASA to rocognize the contributions Muslims have made to the space program". Look it up Sweet Jane.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2012 at 08:11 PM in reply to Jane
        @Jane. Take a ride to the Space Coast and see what became of that part of the state after Obama's cut backs. We saw one of the last shuttle launches and the streets were lined with vacant businesses and homes. Interestingly, many of the inventions that came from technology used in the space program are being manufactured overseas not in this country. That means to a simpleton like you that companies and people are employed abroad using the technologies that your tax dollars paid for and not employing people here. "Hatred" is a strong word and your choice which reveals much about your poor character. Reality is the word that is more in keeping with the information presented. Go take a road trip and see for yourself Jane if you have the objectivity and backbone for it.
  • by Moe Location: tally on Apr 27, 2012 at 05:01 AM
    Florida's space industry struggles to survive and our local progressive leaders are struggling and apparently drooling at the mouth on how they can SPEND a 1 cent tax that voters haven't even approved....see the problem?
  • by Nelson on Apr 27, 2012 at 04:21 AM
    Green Energy...A rocket powered by unicorn farts!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 27, 2012 at 06:02 AM in reply to Nelson
      GREEN ENERGY- A rocket, powered by the republican tea party talk{ all hot air}
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 28, 2012 at 08:20 PM in reply to
        Oh, you mean green energy like Solynadra?
  • by Anonymous on Apr 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM
    Makes you wonder if employees and former employees of NASA will vote for Barack "Our friend of the space program" Obama in November like they did in droves last time. I doubt it.
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