William Shatner once called it “the final frontier.”
Space is front and center today in the Sunshine State. It is the annual Florida Space Day, and aerospace leaders from across the state are in Tallahassee to promote the economic opportunity their companies and industry generate.
The event is hosted by Space Florida, established by the legislature in 2006, to focus on aerospace economic development and meet competitive challenges from other states. It also develops, conducts, hosts and arranges educational services, summits, conferences and programs for space-based scientific research, economic opportunities and incentives for space-related business. In the past year, NASA and Space Florida have partnered to bring 15 new or growing aerospace-related programs into the state that will help create an estimated 1,716 jobs over the next five years.
The aerospace industry now generates in excess of $19 billion in annual sales and revenue for Florida. More than 140,000 Floridians are employed in the 20,000-plus aerospace companies sprinkled across each of the state’s 67 counties. Aerospace products and parts comprise the single-largest manufacturing segment in Florida, with employees receiving an average annual wage of $77, 343.
“Florida continues to expand the business of space,” said Tony Taliancich, chair of Florida Space Day and director of East Coast Operations for United Launch Alliance. In a prepared statement he went on to say, “Space operations and facility upgrades are progressing at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, including commercial operations in suborbital and low-Earth orbit, as well as national program initiatives involving Orion and the Space Launch System for deep space human exploration.”
Florida Space Day participants include Abacus Technology, A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure, AECOM, Aerojet Rocketdyne, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, ASRC Federal, Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, Bionetics, Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Craig Technologies, CSS-Dynamac, Delaware North Companies, EDC of Florida’s Space Coast, Embraer, Embry Riddle, Energy Florida, Florida Institute of Technology, Harris Corporation, Jacksonville Aviation Authority, Jacobs, Lockheed Martin, Millennium Engineering & Integration Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Orbital ATK, Sebesta, Sierra Lobo, Inc, Space Coast Launch Services, Space Florida, SpaceX, United Launch Alliance (ULA), University of Florida and Vencore.
Dr. Sandra H. Magnus, former NASA astronaut and current Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, will make scheduled appearances throughout Space Day. Magnus flew in space on STS-112, STS-126 and on the final Shuttle flight STS-135.
You might say Tallahassee will “be out of this world on Feb. 3.”
Photo Credit: Top image courtesy of SpaceX.