2023: Expanding Aerospace Infrastructure Development, Fueling the Integrated Space-Earth Economy  

2023: Expanding Aerospace Infrastructure Development, Fueling the Integrated Space-Earth Economy  

EXPLORATION PARK, Fla.—December 21, 2023—Space Florida, the state’s aerospace finance and development authority, closes out 2023 with approximately $5.5 billion of statewide capital investment in its 151-project pipeline. This year saw the closing of major projects such as BAE Systems in Jacksonville and Amazon’s Project Kuiper on the Space Coast. Additionally, Space Florida expanded partnerships with CAE USA in Tampa and SIMCOM Aviation Training in Orlando. These projects are representative of Space Florida’s statewide authority and the broad application of its unique financing toolkit across the aerospace sector.

Florida is expected to support more than 70 launches accounting for approximately 70% of total U.S. launches by the end of 2023, with over 1,400 payloads (or 2 million pounds) into orbit, more than doubling the amount from just two years ago. This increase in launch cadence is the first chapter in the story of increasing economic activity in space. Space Florida is leveraging this increased activity to further develop the state’s space transportation network, which includes earth-based research and development and support systems, and financing and supporting in-space assets.  

In September, Space Florida welcomed a new president and CEO, Robert Long, a retired colonel from the U.S. Space Force with more than 25 years of aerospace experience.  

“When I joined Space Florida in September, the team was already doing remarkable work in a year of unprecedented growth for the aerospace industry in Florida,” said Rob Long, president and CEO, Space Florida.  

“But even as we reflect on the achievements of this year, we are setting our sights even higher for 2024. We anticipate continued expansion of our spaceport system territories, new partnerships with aerospace companies looking to grow their businesses in Florida, and expanding the collaboration with our existing partners.”  

Major Projects Closed in 2023

  • Project Constitution (Airbus U.S. Space & Defense) — $75 million conduit financing projects for improvements at the facility and acquisition of additional upgraded, high-value equipment for the enhancement and upgrading of its Spacecraft Integration Facility.  
  • Project Poseidon (BAE Systems Jacksonville Ship Repair) — $201 million conduit financing project for ship-repair facility upgrades and replacement of its equipment and systems, including installation of a state-of-the-art ship lift and additional dry dock capacity. The project is an example of how strategic investments and collaborative efforts between industry leaders can propel Florida to new heights in aerospace and maritime excellence. 
  • Project Upgrade II (CAE) — $12.4 million conduit financing project to support CAE’s expansion activities associated with equipping a new training center. 
  • Amazon’s Project Kuiper — Amazon announced its investment of $120 million for a satellite processing facility at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility. This is the first land lease and development project following the completion of Space Florida’s installation of the utility corridor. With a 2025 completion target for the new facility, Amazon is making exceptional progress. Within 30 days of its Protoflight mission launch in October, Project Kuiper achieved a 100% mission success rate and is beginning satellite manufacturing ahead of a full-scale deployment starting in the first half of 2024More here  

2023 Aerospace Infrastructure Improvements & Launch and Landing Facility Milestones

What was once a runway primarily used for government operations, the Space Florida Launch and Landing Facility (LLF) is being transformed into a gateway for aerospace innovation, exploration, research, manufacturing, and testing. Infrastructure improvements and development at the LLF solidifies Florida’s leadership in the global aerospace economy, bringing new capabilities and customers. 

  • In 2023, the LLF hosted over 400 landing and departures supporting commercial and government missions, and enabled more than 3,500 total flight operations, including support for NASA’s Crew 5, 6 and 7, SpaceX’s CRS-25 and CRS-27 missions to the International Space Station and the Axiom 2 crewed mission.

  • Infrastructure improvements to attract more companies to the LLF included completion of land development for future tenants and access to the runway, the widening of Space Commerce Way, and power enhancements to Launch Complex 46 to support commercial and Department of Defense launches.

  • The LLF supported 247 ground tests and partnered with companies and entities such as Sierra Space, NASA, SpaceX, U.S. Air Force, Tesla, Volvo, Blue Origin, Embraer, and Italian Air Force.

  • The LLF welcomed NASA’s Super Guppy to deliver and upload the heatshield container for the Artemis III mission that will return humanity to the moon.

2023 Cecil Spaceport Milestones

Florida’s Spaceport Territory currently includes these strategic locations in Florida statute: 

  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport 
  • Cecil Spaceport 
  • Eglin Air Force Base 
  • Cape San Blas 
  • Space Coast Regional Airport and Spaceport 
  • Patrick Space Force Base

Space Florida deepened its relationship with Spaceport Territory member Cecil Spaceport in 2023. 

  • Boeing is in the middle of a large expansion at Cecil Airport with:
    • Construction on a 370,000-square-foot maintenance, repair and operations facility constructed by the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) with slated completion in January 2024;
    • 150,000-square-foot component maintenance repair facility under construction with expected completion in March 2024; and  
    • A new ground lease approved by the JAA’s board of directors involves a U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance facility that will start construction in early 2024, with expected completion in fall 2025.
  • Three rocket tests were held at Cecil Spaceport in 2023, two of which were conducted by the Embry-Riddle Experimental Rocket Propulsion Lab. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is expected to open a worldwide location at Cecil in Q1 2024.

  • Construction began on Approach Road on Cecil Spaceport’s east side. The project creates a two-lane public roadway with sidewalk and utilities down to Cecil’s main facilities, providing easy access for spaceport users while also effectively unlocking the rest of Cecil’s northeast area for aerospace development. The JAA received a grant of $3 million from the Florida Department of Transportation and Space Florida’s Spaceport Improvement Program (SIP) to help fund the $22 million project.
  • ManTech International took occupancy of a new 32,000-square-foot hangar in May.

2023 Space Florida & Innovation Investment Milestones

  • For the tenth year in a row, the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program jointly awarded $2 million in funding to cutting-edge aerospace companies focused on industrial research and development in Florida and Israel. Over the past decade, Space Florida and the Israel Innovation Authority have invested $20 million in projects while partnering with 43 Florida and 43 Israeli aerospace and related industry companies. More here

  • In partnership with the Florida Venture Forum (FVF), Space Florida invested $200,000 in early stage and emerging tech companies. To date, participants in Space Florida’s 20+ capital accelerator events have attracted more than $800 million in funding and investments. More here

  • Working with ITEN WIRED and TechFarms Capital, Florida Power & Light Company and Space Florida invested $100,000 into three winners of the ITEN WIRED Innovation Awards startup pitch competition held on October 19. More here

  • Florida was selected as the preferred location for the U.S. Space Force Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) headquarters. The selection further solidifies Florida’s dominance as the most military-friendly state and position as America’s hub for military and private space operations. More here

  • Together with Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez, Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors, and world-renowned artist Romero Britto, Space Florida recognized the 13 finalists of the 2023 Florida Space Art Contest. The artwork created by the two grand prize winners will be flown into space on an upcoming SpaceX mission. More here 


Media Contact
Alayna Curry, APR
(407) 408-1766

About Space Florida
Space Florida is where leading aerospace companies get everything they need to see their new ideas take off. As the state’s aerospace finance and development authority, Space Florida brings a mix of unrivaled experience, unmatched financial tools, and unbeatable location to the table by providing critical business financing opportunities for the aerospace industry, managing infrastructure investment in the state’s spaceport system, and facilitating research and development, workforce, education, and investment programs.