The Cape Week in Review - The Politics of Economics and Innovation

Politics once again swept across Florida's Space Coast area as the Space Industry Report was released this week. The report details recommendations for where $40 million should be spent. Meanwhile, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas toured the region to promote small businesses and entrepreneurs - and a new effort to support the commercial space industry was unveiled.

Space Industry Report Submitted to President

The impact that the Space Industry Report will have on the region is substantial. Compiled and submitted by the Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development, the report provides the President with recommendations as how to best utilize the $40 million that the President has allocated to aid the region as it transitions away from the shuttle program.

The first $5 million will go toward establishing and supporting the burgeoning commercial space industry in the area. These funds will be dispensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The President has frequently voiced his support for the private space industry.

The task force has suggested that the remaining $35 million should be spent on a number of fields. These include: aviation and aerospace, life sciences, clean energy, homeland security and information technology services. The task force feels taht these fields contain the most promise in terms of investment. Within the report it is also suggested that undeveloped land can be used to develop renewable energy sources.

The report details how cooperative agreements between public and private groups could greatly benefit Florida's Brevard County. The report also acknowledges that some $20 billion is brought to the area by the aerospace industry. However, the report fails to adequately explain why the specific fields that it backs were selected as the being the most viable.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden co-chair the task force which also includes the Departments of Defense, Labor, Education, Transportation and several other federal agencies. President Barack Obama established the task force in May of this year with the express purpose to find ways to diversify the economic foundation of the Space Coast's economy.

NASA Supports New FAA Commercial Space Transportation Center

The new Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation (COE) will be supported by NASA's Kennedy Space Center. This newly-formed university-led consortium was announced on Aug. 18 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This new center will be used to conduct research and development to help ensure that the safety and survivability of this new industry.

The team will be based out of New Mexico State University. It is a national organization that includes the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) and the Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion (FCAAP) in Tallahassee as members.

FCAAP is a consortium comprised of a number of Florida universities. KSC provided the COE with support when it was in the developmental stage. Proposals were submitted to the FAA and other government entities. When flight testing begins KSC has been suggested as a location to serve as a flight test center. Given the space center's history it is viewed as a logical location for these efforts.

Kosmas to Hold Job-Creating Technologies and Small Businesses Tour

This week, Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas announced a program that will highlight local job-creating businesses and innovative entrepreneurs in the Space Coast area. This is part of her "Central Florida Innovation Tour." Kosmas will meet with small business owners discussing technologies and industries with the potential to reinvigorate Central Florida's economy and to help in the creation of new jobs for the local area.

Kosmas visited AVT Simulation, a defense modeling and simulation firm located in Orlando. On Aug. 19, Kosmas spoke to the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) where she focused on research and development projects. Kosmas then visited Aero Industries, a small business in Titusville that makes metal and electronic components for the military as well as the aerospace industry.

Kosmas is a former small-business owner herself and has worked to support emerging businesses within her district. During her time in Congress, Kosmas has introduced a number of bills that were designed to support small businesses. Currently, Kosmas has been looking for ways to diversify the economic base of the Space Coast region.

This Week in Cape History

August 21-29, 1965: NASA launched the Gemini-V mission on a Titan-II rocket. This mission saw several space flight records set during its eight-day flight. These included the single longest manned spaceflight, total U.S. manned hours in space and a new altitude record for a U.S. spacecraft. The crew consisted of Commander Gordon Cooper and Pilot Pete Conrad. Cooper became the first man to make a second orbital flight and achieved the record for the most cumulative spaceflight time.

GeminiV.jpgPete Conrad emerges with a smile from his Gemini spacecraft. Photo Credit: NASA

August 20, 1975: NASA launched the highly successful Viking 1 mission from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. It was the first of two Viking spacecraft that were sent to Mars. The primary objectives of the Viking craft were to return detailed images of the Martian surface, study the composition of the Martian terrain and atmosphere for evidence of life.

SagVik.jpgCarl Sagan stands next to a replica of the Viking lander. Photo Credit: NASA


The Cape Week in Review is compiled by Jason Rhian, the Cape Insider, and is a weekly
round-up of what's happening at Cape Canaveral. If you have information or suggestions for the Cape Week in Review please email us at

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Rhian published on August 23, 2010 4:42 PM.

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