Space Florida Reflects on 2019 News and Successes

Florida from Space

Exploration Park, Fla. (December 23, 2019) – As 2019 draws to a close, Space Florida looks back on an extraordinary year of growth of the aerospace industry in Florida. And the Cape Canaveral Spaceport is emerging as the world’s premier space transportation hub and global leader in enabling commercial space industry expansion.

“I have had the privilege to serve as Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors and have advocated to position Florida as an aerospace industry leader,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Space Florida is committed to ensuring the next generation of space-related businesses are firmly rooted in our state, and that they are able to grow and thrive.”

“We’re pleased to have had such a successful year of growth within the aerospace industry here in the State of Florida, with support from Governor DeSantis as well as our Board Chair and Lieutenant Governor Nuñez,” said Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello. “The future of this industry is very bright across the State and represents an increasingly important segment of Florida’s economy.”

Space Florida is pleased to share its top projects and accomplishments for the year: 

Firefly Aerospace – In February, Governor Ron DeSantis, the 45th Space Wing, Space Florida and Firefly Aerospace formally announced Firefly’s establishment of business operations at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, including launch operations at historic Space Launch Complex (SLC) 20 and manufacturing facilities at Exploration Park. 

Florida-Israel Partnerships – In May, Space Florida joined Governor Ron DeSantis in Israel for the signing of memorandums of understanding with both the Israel Space Agency and the Israel Innovation Authority. The Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority has entered its Seventh Call for Projects. In 2013, Florida and Israel established a $2 million recurring joint fund to support research, development, and commercialization of aerospace and technology projects that benefit both Israel and Florida. 

Orion Ascent-Abort 2 Mission – In July, Space Florida’s SLC-46 hosted NASA’s launch of the Ascent Abort-2 mission carrying the Orion Launch Abort System. It was a historic morning for the State of Florida, as this marked the latest Florida participation and investment in this nation’s Return to the Moon and is the second launch from Space Florida’s SLC-46 within the last two years. For this launch, the State partnered with NASA to invest nearly $4.5 million dollars into a Lightning Protection System and other upgrades and renovations to enable the complex to support this launch and many others into the future. 

OneWeb Satellites Inauguration – Governor DeSantis and Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello helped welcome OneWeb Satellites to Exploration Park in an official ribbon cutting ceremony in late July. The OneWeb Satellites manufacturing facility has the capacity to produce up to 15 satellites per week. 

CAE, Inc. – In a groundbreaking ceremony at the Tampa International Airport in early October, Space Florida joined the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Commission in welcoming the new CAE USA, Inc., headquarters to Florida. CAE USA, Inc., provides world-class training and simulation for the U.S. Department of Defense and allied defense forces. The new campus will support the aerospace training hardware with a 102,000 square-foot facility and host a 133,000 square-foot building to serve as the home office with 500 retained employees and 150 new employees, with an average annual salary of $80,000.

USDOT INFRA Grant – Space Florida continues to move forward on a $90 million infrastructure improvement grant recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The grant will support three interrelated projects, including replacing the aging SR 405 bridge over the Indian River Lagoon, widening Space Commerce Way, and revitalizing a 3.7-mile stretch of NASA Parkway West. The project is expected to take approximately five years to complete.

Florida Aerospace Capital Forum – Space Florida continued its partnership with the Florida Venture Forum, hosting the second annual Florida Aerospace Capital Conference in November. This capital accelerator was an opportunity to broaden the spectrum of early stage, Florida-based aerospace and aviation companies and entrepreneurs while engaging with Florida’s investment community. To date, Space Florida-supported capital accelerators have attracted more than $300 million in funding and investments for participating companies. 


About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov


Press Contact: 

Sara Shell
321-730-5301 x221