By: Mike Vasilinda
When the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, it created a void in space travel. This year forty million of your tax dollars will be spent trying to fill that void. Today, state lawmakers toured Space Florida facilities at Cape Canaveral and say your money is being well spent.
At the height of the shuttle program’s, 15 thousand people were working at Kennedy Space Center, but with the end of the shuttle, thousands of jobs went overseas or were lost all together.
Now with the help of state incentives, private companies are picking up the slack. Boeing has taken over this giant shuttle facility. It’s incentive, your tax dollars paid for the buildings renovation. In exchange and for the first time ever, Boeing will build space vehicles like this one in Florida. “The program is multi-billion dollars over several years, but from the job perspective at full operational capability, possibly 550 jobs.”, Chuck Hardison, Boeing.
Commercial space flight is still in its infancy. Lawmakers toured existing launch sites and private rocket makers like Space X and a Lockheed facility where cameras were banned. Space Florida’s job is to find deals that work, close them, and put people back to work. “I think it’s going to start small, just as it always does. The railroads or air travel initially began as a government driven and government funded effort. “, Mark Bontrager, Space Florida VP.
Representative Matt Hudson, R-Naples says, “You look at Space X, you look at dynamic program that is and they’re going to have 12 launches a year here. ”
High School science teacher turned lawmaker Mark Danish, says the incentives are a chance for Florida and space to once again be synonymous. “We’ve put a lot of things have gone overseas, time to bring it back here.”, Rep. Mark Danish, D-Tampa.
Lighter, smaller, cheaper were the watchwords of those pitching the private space deals. But in this case, even the sky isn’t the limit.