By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- In a recent meeting, the City Council agreed to support Space Florida in its efforts to create a commercial spaceport just north of Cape Kennedy and the Kennedy Space Center.
Created in 2006 by Chapter 331, Part II Florida Statues, Space Florida is an Independent Special District of the state created to foster growth and development of a world-class space industry by promoting aeronautical education, industry and commerce in an effort to create a commercial spaceport.
The federal government leases much of the land around Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from the state. Space Florida has petitioned the federal government for the transfer of title back on certain property near Cape Kennedy, part of which is in Volusia County, and is awaiting an answer.
Space Florida has asked several cities along the east coast to support its efforts by fostering economic and educational developments that will expand and enhance a sustainable space industry in eastern Volusia and Brevard counties.
The Volusia County Council and the cities of Edgewater and Oak Hill have also agreed to support Space Florida.
In reviewing the proposal, city staff determined there would be no specific fiscal impact and recommended to the commission to adopt the resolution. In the May 28 meeting, the council adopted it without discussion.
Space Florida is requesting support from the cities and counties so it will have the infrastructure, economic base and industrial support to build a comprehensive commercial spaceport that will be in close proximity to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station but will be jurisdictionally independent of the federal government. It also promotes educational programs and competitions designed to expand aeronautical knowledge to better compete with the world space market.
The plan is to utilize the talent and manpower that already exists in Florida to create a world-class commercial launch pad facility. According to Space Florida documents, a generation ago 100 percent of the world's commercial satellites were launched from Florida and the state has a proven track record of working with environmentalists to have the least impact on the surrounding environment possible.
"There are 34 private spaceports planned or underway worldwide, including 17 in other states in the U.S., such as Arizona, Texas and Georgia," states Space Florida, which claims most of the commercial launches have gone overseas in the last decade. The goal is to bring the jobs back to Florida.
"The relationship between this nation's space program and the enjoyment and preservation of our natural environment is a history of successful partnership for over 50 years. The citizens and communities of the Space Coast have paid a high price for being solely reliant upon the government launch programs, and there now exists the opportunity to diversify into a broader more robust and unlimited commercial marketplace," states a Space Florida document explaining the need for the city resolution.
With the acceptance of the resolution to support Space Florida, New Smyrna Beach will now be considering how future development can enhance the space industry. Once Space Florida garners the support it needs, it will begin the process of building the infrastructure to create the spaceport. You can find out more about Space Florida on its website at www.spaceflorida.gov.