Florida Economy Will Include Commercial Development and Investment in Land, Water, Air, and Space: Commercial Spaceport Plans Proceed for Cape Canaveral

by Rosa Eckstein Schechter

This morning, at 8:10 EST, the United States Air Force launched a Delta IV rocket into space with its cargo, a military GPS satellite, from Florida's Cape Caneveral Air Force Station.  It's supposed to help both the military and the public with location, direction, and other map-type issues, and it's going up into space to replace an older model.  According to the Air Force officials, this GPS satellite should work just fine for the next 12 years.

However, the big news for Florida land developers and real estate investors was not that there was a launch from Cape Canaveral this morning.  The big news is that Florida is definitely going into the space business.

That's right.  Not only is Florida fighting hard to recover from this bad economic crisis by innovations like huge law reforms and foreign investment incentives, Florida is looking to build an investment base in land, sea, air ... and space.

Outer Space - The New Florida Commercial Development Frontier?

This month, Florida officially asked NASA to transfer ownership of around 150 acres of NASA property that sits north of NASA's shuttle launch pads and the shuttle runway, giving legal control of the land to Space Florida, the name of Florida's aerospace development agency.

Yes, Florida has its own aerospace development agency.  Think about that. 

What is Space Florida?  From its own web site:

Space Florida is an Independent Special District of the State of Florida, created by Chapter 331, Part II, Florida Statutes, for the purposes of fostering the growth and development of a sustainable and world-leading space industry in Florida.

As the State of Florida’s aerospace economic development agency, Space Florida fosters bold economic development activities to expand and diversify domestic and international opportunities that support talent development, enhance infrastructure and support governments and organizations in improving the state’s competitive business climate. Space Florida does this by supporting, assisting, facilitating and/or consulting on space industry related needs for:

Attracting, retaining, and expanding aerospace or related supply chain businesses that create economic opportunities in the State of Florida by:

    • Arranging financial incentives and providing start up and relocation support
    • Providing financial and business consulting on business formation, relocation and venture development
    • Providing resources, retraining and access to experienced professional workforce
    • Development of targeted infrastructure and facilities
    • Research and Development opportunities that enable target industry growth
    • Space Florida also develops, conducts, hosts and/or arranges educational services, summits, conferences and/or programs relating to space-based scientific research and economic opportunities and incentives for space-related business, as well as recommends future requirements for aerospace workforce training and related skills.

The letter that Space Florida wrote to NASA top dog Charles Bolden as well as the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Ray LaHood, has been published online as part of Project Sunburst.  Grabbing this land from NASA will help Space Florida in its big goal, which is to build a big, commercial complex to be called the "Cape Canaveral Spaceport," which would be like a commercial airport, except it would involve travel to space.

True, there are already some commercial space launches at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, the site of this morning's Air Force satellite launch.  The big news about this land transfer request, from federal ownership to state control, is that it goes hand in hand with the State of Florida's fight to get a SpaceX launchpad, something that interests in both Brownsville, Texas, and Puerto Rico want to have for themselves.

SpaceX means private interests since SpaceX launchpads are those owned and used by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies (nicknamed "SpaceX"). SpaceX isn't a dream -- they are already actively in space with vehicles, or spaceships if you will, named things like Falcon and Dragon.  SpaceX, formed by former PayPal and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk, is ten years old and already a big success as well as pioneer in this new commercial space industry.   

Will SpaceX Help Create Florida's Space Version of the Great Port of Miami Seaport?

This will be a new growth hub for Florida: the spaceport.  Why is this important?  Land developers as well as real estate investors can look to the needs of current airports, train terminals, and international ports like the great Port of Miami, "the Cargo Gateway of the Americas" to forecast where the deals and project needs will be.


Written by:

Rosa Eckstein Schechter

Eckstein Schechter Law on:

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