Florida’s ‘space coast’ sees major return of business, employment

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Florida's 'space coast' sees major return of business, employment

The bulls-eye landing of the Space X booster rocket back at Cape Canaveral in February was remarkable. But even more amazing has been the dramatic re-birth of the space industry left in shambles when the Shuttle program ended with the last landing in 2011.

CGTN’s John Zarrella reports.

Florida's 'space coast' sees major return of business, employment

Florida's 'space coast' sees major return of business, employment

The bulls-eye landing of the Space X booster rocket back at Cape Canaveral in February was remarkable. But even more amazing has been the dramatic re-birth of the space industry left in shambles when the Shuttle program ended with the last landing in 2011. CGTN's John Zarrella reports.
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Frank DiBello, president and CEO Space Florida, has seen it with his very own eyes.

“This area has really been hurt a number of times in the past on an over-dependence on a large federal program. I swore at that time I would never see that happen again,” DiBello said.

DiBello has overseen the transformation of the area known for decades as the Space Coast.  Some 9,000 jobs evaporated when the shuttle program ended.  Since then, more than 7,000 new jobs have been created, and thousands more are forecast not so much from NASA but from the booming commercial space industry. 

Attracted by tax incentives, quality of life, cost of living, a strong aerospace history, the list of companies is impressive and growing Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Space X, United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin.  Just a handful of miles from the launch sites, Blue Origin is building a massive manufacturing plant for its re-usable rocket that will bring 300 jobs. 

The company, OneWeb, will bring another 250 jobs as the first ever firm to mass produce satellites for a global communications network of some 900 satellites. Part of the company’s mission to connect to 1 million schools.  Florida made more than just good business sense.

The evidence of rebirth is in what rocket folks call smoke and fire. With some 30 launches scheduled this year, all you need do is look up to see the future unfolding.