FSDC announcements and news releases are shown below. Members are also encouraged to sign up for the weekly FLORIDA SPACErePORT e-newsletter, available here.

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Florida Space Development Council Opens Nominations for 2014 Bumper Award 

July 24, 2014 - The Florida Space Development Council, a statewide chapter of the National Space Society, invites nominations for the 2014 Bumper Award, provided annually to individuals or organizations that have had the greatest positive impact on Florida's space industry, or to Floridians who have had the greatest impact nationally. FSDC members and non-members are encouraged to submit 2014 nominees using a simple online form, available here. Nominations will be accepted through November 1, 2014.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell was selected for the award in 2013, based on her company's growing role as a disruptive force for positive change at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, and as a catalyst for boosting Florida's state and local government support for the space industry. 

Launched on July 24, 1950, the Bumper was a modified German V-2 rocket with a U.S. WAC Corporal upper stage (built by Douglas Aircraft Co.). After a series of Bumper test launches at New Mexico's White Sands Proving Grounds in 1948 and 1949, Bumper-8 became the first rocket launched at Florida's new Joint Long Range Proving Ground, from Launch Complex 3 on what is now the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Bumper was our nation’s first multi-stage liquid engine rocket and it led to the development of a series of other space launch vehicles.

Indie Galactic Space Jam Planned in Orlando on July 25-27 

June 23, 2014 - This Central Florida event brings together for the first time Game Developers & The Space Industry to make amazing, fun, inspiring games about Space Travel and Exploration. This is the ultimate creative collaboration, all happening in a single high paced weekend. There is no other place quite like Orlando with our professional resources. So what better place to build and showcase our collective scientific and creative impact in humanity's final frontier ...with games!

Here's what Elon Musk says about hiring game industry people: “We actually hire a lot of our best software engineers out of the gaming industry. In gaming there’s a lot of smart engineering talent doing really complex things. [Compared to] a lot of the algorithms involved in massive multiplayer online games…a docking sequence [between spacecraft] is actually relatively straightforward. So I’d encourage people in the gaming industry to think about creating the next generation of spacecraft and rockets.”

Everyone is welcome to participate throughout the 48 hour Jam, artists, programmers, game designers, UI & UX designers, musicians, writers, poets, interpretive dancers, people excited about games, people excited about space, people who like to eat pizza, and people like you. Click here.

FSDC Membership Elects Officers, Including New President

June 4, 2014 - Jillianne Pierce of Orlando has been elected to serve as president of the Florida Space Development Council (FSDC), replacing Laura Seward who held the position since the National Space Society chapter was re-activated in January 2013. A short bio for Ms. Pierce is available here.

Also elected to the FSDC board are Edward Ellegood (vice president); William Allen (secretary); and Randy Pruitt (treasurer). 

FSDC Applauds State Support for Space Industry

May 9, 2014 - The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) applauds the state legislature's continued support for space industry development and diversification. During the recently concluded annual legislative session in Tallahassee elected officials approved $22.5 million for aerospace programs in 2015, with an additional $20 million available through the Florida Department of Transportation for space transportation infrastructure.

"Florida continues to invest more than any other state in creating a competitive environment for space business," said FSDC Vice President Edward Ellegood. "Florida legislators deserve our thanks for keeping this industry among the state's top economic development priorities. FSDC urges Governor Scott to follow through with approval of these investments within the 2015 budget."

The $22.5 million includes $9.5 million for Space Florida operations and programs; $3 million for aerospace programs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; $2.5 million for Space Florida financing of space industry projects; $2.5 million for Space Florida transition of the Shuttle Landing Facility; $2 million for Cecil Field spaceport infrastructure; $1.5 million for a Space Florida space tourism marketing program; $1 million for a Space Florida partnership with Israel; and $500,000 for Florida university research into space transportation, coordinated by the Florida Institute of Technology.

Also approved during the session were millions of dollars for economic development incentives like the state's Quick Response Training (QRT) program. QRT provides workforce training funds for aerospace companies relocating or expanding in Florida. These legislative actions were tracked by FSDC during the session on this chart, which will be updated as Governor Scott either vetoes or signs them into law.

Florida Shouldn't Miss Opportunity With New Rocket Engine

May 1, 2014 - In the late 1990s, as the Air Force settled on Delta-4 and Atlas-5 designs by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, one controversial element was the inclusion of Russian-provided RD-180 engines to power the Atlas-5. The RD-180 is by all accounts a remarkable rocket engine, a propulsion system without peer in the U.S. Concerns about the supply of these engines from Russia were addressed by a plan for Pratt & Whitney (which had partnered with Russia's Energomash and bought engineering designs for the engine) to domestically produce the RD-180.

Their plan was to manufacture the engines at P&W's facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. Unfortunately, due to cost concerns (and with Air Force concurrence), this plan was shelved in favor of keeping a two-year supply of the Russian-made engines on hand. According to many in Congress who support sanctions against Russia, that plan is no longer good enough. The latest Air Force budget draft for FY-2015 includes $220 million to develop a domestic alternative to the RD-180.

After a series of mergers and acquisitions, Pratt & Whitney's rocket engine business (including manufacturing facilities in West Palm Beach) now belongs to Aerojet Rocketdyne. The West Palm plant still produces upper stage engines for both the Atlas-5 and Delta-4, and capacity still exists there for RD-180 manufacturing. With momentum building in Washington for a "domestic alternative" to the Russian engines, the Florida Space Development Council believes Florida lawmakers and economic development officials should be working now to position West Palm Beach as the location for building these engines.

Florida Companies and Universities Among NASA's Newest SBIR & STTR Winners

April 30, 2014 - NASA has selected 383 R&D proposals for potential contracts worth a combined $47.6 million. The proposals, from 257 U.S. small businesses and 29 research institutions, are part of NASA's Phase-One Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. In Florida, seven small business projects were selected for SBIR awards, along with three STTR projects (which require industry/university collaboration). These grants will further diversify Florida's involvement in space-related research and development, leading to new space-focused jobs and investment in the state. Click here for a list of the winning projects.

FSDC Applauds Florida Bipartisan Support for Weather Satellites

April 29, 2014 - Our nation's weather satellites have been at risk for the past several years. These satellites have been forced to operate beyond their intended lifespans, with insufficient planning and funding to replace them. Floridians live with the annual threat of hurricanes causing damage to life and property, so it is refreshing to see Florida members from both sides of the aisle come together to support a solution.

The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) applauds Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL-9) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-3) for supporting the needs of NOAA and other agencies through their co-sponsorship of the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act (HR-2413). The bill authorizes funding and provides other encouragement for badly needed weather and climate monitoring instruments to be launched aboard a variety of satellites.

Space-Related Priorities Coming Into Focus for 2014 Legislative Session

February 20, 2014 - Florida space industry leaders have prepared an initial list of space-related policy and funding priorities for consideration by elected officials during the 2014 Legislative Session in Tallahassee, which begins on March 4. The state's annual Florida Space Day event, planned on March 12, will bring industry, government and academic leaders to Tallahassee to show their support for space issues.

The Florida Space Development Council will participate in Florida Space Day at the state capitol, and will monitor the progress of space-related legislation and funding requests. Click here for a summary of the 2014 priorities, and a review of last year's items.

Public Hearings Planned for Shiloh Launch Site Plan

January 26, 2014 - Two public scoping meetings will be held to solicit input from the public on potential issues that may need to be evaluated in the EIS. The first scoping meeting will be held on Feb. 11 from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m., at the New Smyrna Beach High School, 1015 10th Street, New Smyrna Beach. The second scoping meeting will be held on Feb. 12 from 5:00- 8:00 p.m., at the Eastern Florida State College, Titusville Campus.

The meeting format will include an open-house workshop from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The FAA will provide an overview of the environmental process from 6:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. followed by a public comment period from 6:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The FAA and cooperating agency staff will be present during the open-house workshop portion of the meetings to answer general questions on the proposed project and the NEPA process.

The proposed Shiloh Launch Complex would be constructed on approximately 200 acres of undeveloped land in the vicinity of a former citrus community known as Shiloh. Of the 200 acres, each vertical launch facility would require approximately 30 acres of fenced land. Editor's Note: Shiloh supporters are asked to wear red to the scoping meetings.

Congressional Field Hearing Planned at Cape Canaveral Spaceport

January 26, 2014 - About six members of Congress are expected to participate in a February 10 field hearing of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government Operations, at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The hearing will address the disposition of federal facilities and property, presumably to include the "Shiloh" property at Kennedy Space Center sought by the State of Florida to develop a new commercial launch site.

The subcommittee is chaired by Congressman John Mica (R-FL). Among the organizations invited to testify are the Air Force, NASA, GSA, Space Florida, the Florida Ports Council, and the Florida Audubon Society. The location of the hearing will be the KSC Visitor Complex.

National Space Society Opposes HR 3625

January 13, 2014 - The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) strongly opposes the passage of House of Representatives bill HR 3625. This bill would (a) require NASA to obtain legislative permission to cancel four of its most expensive human spaceflight and science programs, and (b) allow contractors for these programs to have immediate access to hundreds of millions of dollars in funds which currently are held in reserve to pay the government's obligations in the event of such termination.

The four covered programs are the Space Launch System, the Orion crew capsule, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and the International Space Station. Ordinarily, government agencies like NASA have the right to terminate a project if it no longer appears necessary or cost effective, provided it pays "termination liability costs" which are sometimes provided for in such contracts. It is unusual to require an act of Congress in order to stop a program. Click here.

FSDC President Among Award Finalists

January 6, 2014 - LEAD Brevard has announced its “2014 LEAD Brevard Leadership Awards,” including the 10th annual 4 Under Recognition ceremony, scheduled for Feb. 28. The 4 Under 40 Recognition showcases the many young adults who are working to make a positive impact in Brevard County through their leadership and commitment to community service. Among the 4 Under 40 finalists are Laura Seward, president of the Florida Space Development Council.

SpaceX President Wins 2013 Bumper Award

December 9, 2013 - Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), has been named the 2013 winner of the Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) Bumper Award.

Named after the first rocket launched from Florida (on July 24, 1950), the Bumper Award recognizes individuals or organizations that have had the greatest positive impact on Florida's space industry, or Floridians who have had the greatest impact nationally.

"Under Gwynne Shotwell's leadership, SpaceX has become a force for positive change at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, disrupting the status quo for NASA, Air Force, and the commercial launch industry," said FSDC President Laura Seward. "SpaceX's growing manifest and its push for new launch sites has also challenged Florida's state and local governments to more aggressively support the space industry."

The Bumper Award will be formally presented to Ms. Shotwell by the FSDC Board and Florida Senator Thad Altman, chairman of the Senate's Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security.

"SpaceX's successful commercial satellite launch last week positions the company to significantly improve Florida's position in the global launch industry," said Senator Altman. "This would not have been possible without the team of engineers and technicians assembled and led by Ms. Shotwell."

A panel of FSDC members and its board of directors selected Ms. Shotwell after a monthlong nomination and review process that resulted in three other finalists, including (in alphabetical order) Space Florida President Frank DiBello, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University President John Johnson, and Will Trafton, chairman of the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee.

The Bumper was a modified German V-2 rocket with a U.S. WAC Corporal upper stage (built by Douglas Aircraft Co.). After a series of Bumper test launches at New Mexico's White Sands Proving Grounds in 1948 and 1949, Bumper-8 became the first rocket launched at what would become the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Bumper was our nation’s first multi-stage liquid engine rocket and it led to the development of a series of other space launch vehicles.

FSDC Supports Space Day in Tallahassee

December 5, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council is involved in planning and implementation of Space Day, which is scheduled for March 12 in Tallahassee, at the start of the state's annual Legislative Session. As it did during the 2013 Legislative Session, FSDC will track the status of space-related policy and funding initiatives as they work their way through the legislative process. Regular updates will be distributed by FSDC until the end of the session. Here is a preliminary list of items on the Space Day "advocacy agenda."

FSDC Plans Space Locals Event and Tour at Craig Technologies

December 3, 2013 - A tour the Craig Technologies' Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing Center in Cape Canaveral will be offered to FSDC members on Dec. 13 at 2:00 p.m. This tour is free and space is limited so please RSVP by Dec. 10 to reserve a spot. Founder and CEO Carol Craig will be our Space Locals speaker before the tour begins. She will give an overview of Craig Technologies, its impact on the space industry in our area, and her plans for the future. Click here to RSVP.

Regional Workshop Focuses on NSS Structure, Chapter Operations

October 12, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council hosted a Southeast Regional Workshop of National Space Society chapters from Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Chapter leaders discussed lessons learned and differences in how they operate and are structured, offering solutions for how they can be strengthened.

After the chapters discussion, the workshop focused on the NSS structure and how it works and doesn't work. The participants generally agreed that the NSS organizational structure is overly complex and should be simplified to improve NSS responsiveness and effectiveness. The concerns (and some recommendations) will be shared with the NSS board at their meeting next week.

Also participating in the meeting was Jim Kennedy, former director of Kennedy Space Center, who provided a briefing on his experience at KSC and lessons-learned on leadership in the space industry. Mr. Kennedy is a frequent lecturer on space and leadership, spending months every year on cruise ships and at other events enlightening tourists from around the world on the exciting new directions of our nation's space program.

Four Finalists Identified for FSDC Bumper Award

October 12, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council's Bumper Award, named after the first rocket launched from Cape Canaveral in 1950, is designed to recognize an individual or organization that has had the biggest impact on Florida's space industry, or a Floridian that has had the biggest national impact in space. The 2013 Bumper recipient will be selected from a list of finalists that were identified by a panel of nine FSDC member volunteers.

The 2013 finalists include (in alphabetical order): Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida; Dr. John Johnson; president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX; and Will Trafton, chairman of COMSTAC. The FSDC board of directors will now select the winner and present the award during an upcoming event before the end of the year.

Nine Nominated for FSDC's Bumper Award

September 5, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council has resurrected the Bumper Award, originally established by the Florida Space Business Roundtable to honor a person or organization that has had the most significant impact on Florida's space industry development. The nomination period for FSDC's 2013 Bumper Award closed on Aug. 31, with nine nominations received.

FSDC will now form a review/selection committee to narrow the list to a few finalists, with the winner to be announced at an appropriate venue in the near future.

Planning Begins for 2014 Space Day in Tallahassee

September 4, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council and over a dozen other organizations in the state have begun planning for the next Space Day event in Tallahassee. The 2014 Space Day will be held in the Florida Capitol Building on March 12 during the 2014 Legislative Session. As was the case in 2013, the Legislature in 2014 is expected to consider an array of space-related funding and policy issues. FSDC will track the progress of these items, as was done with this chart in 2013.

FSDC Event Features Air Force Leaders

August 15, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council, a statewide chapter of the National Space Society, will sponsor a "Space Locals" discussion with 45th Space Wing Lt. Colonels David Ashley, Paul Konyha and James Smith. They will discuss the Air Force's enduring and evolving role in support of launch operations at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The event will be held on September 7 at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach at 2:00 p.m.

Florida Space Development Council Revives Bumper Award

July 24, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council, a statewide chapter of the National Space Society, invites nominations for the Bumper Award, to be provided annually to individuals or organizations that have had the greatest positive impact on Florida's space industry, or to Floridians who have had the greatest impact nationally. FSDC members and non-members are encouraged to submit 2013 nominees using a simple online form, available here. Nominations will be accepted through August 31, 2013.

"With this annual award, we want to recognize those people who are ushering in a new era of U.S. space exploration and enterprise, in Florida and nationwide," said FSDC President Laura Seward. "This is an exciting time in space and Floridians are eager to support the industry’s development."

The Bumper Award, named after the first rocket launched from Florida (on July 24, 1950), was originally sponsored by the Florida Space Business Roundtable, a space industry advocacy group that was dissolved in 2003. FSDC will establish a panel to review the nominations and select a winner. An announcement of the winner and presentation of the award will occur at an upcoming FSDC event.

The Bumper was a modified German V-2 rocket with a U.S. WAC Corporal upper stage (built by Douglas Aircraft Co.). After a series of Bumper test launches at New Mexico's White Sands Proving Grounds in 1948 and 1949, Bumper-8 became the first rocket launched at Florida's new Joint Long Range Proving Ground, from Launch Complex 3 on what is now the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Bumper was our nation’s first multi-stage liquid engine rocket and it led to the development of a series of other space launch vehicles.

FSDC Members to Tour Space Life Sciences Lab at Spaceport

July 23, 2013 - FSDC is organizing an August 23 tour of the Space Life Sciences Lab at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport and invites a limited number of members to join the tour on a first-come first-served basis. Developed by the State of Florida to support an expanded space research capability at the spaceport, the SLS Lab is the anchor facility for Exploration Park. The SLS Lab also houses Space Florida's headquarters. The tour will begin at 2:00 p.m. and is open to the first 20 people who RSVP by contacting FSDC.

NSS Chapters Plan Regional Workshop on Space Coast

July 13, 2013 - With the rebranding of the NSS Florida Space Coast chapter as Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) and start of the Georgia Space Society, four Southeastern U.S. NSS chapters have decided to host the 2013 NSS Southeast Regional Workshop (SERW) on October 12 in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The 2013 NSS SERW organizing committee has agreed that FSDC will take the leading role in this workshop, with HAL5 of Alabama, NSS of North Texas and Georgia Space Society supporting the event.

FSDC Refutes Arguments Against Shiloh Launch Site

June 18, 2013 - In a June 16 op-ed (posted here) opposing the proposed development of a new launch site at "Shiloh" on the border of Volusia and Brevard Counties, Clay Henderson offers several arguments that don't quite hold water. FSDC Vice President Edward Ellegood provides the following point-by-point response...

1) "Space Florida still won't tell us the exact location, because they know that every spot is fraught with insurmountable environmental issues." Response: The lack of specificity is because the environmental study will be used by Space Florida to identify the best site within the designated area, rather than identify a specific plot that might not be as suitable as one nearby.

2) "We've been down this road twice before. In 1989 and 2008, Spaceport Florida launched plans for commercial facilities west of Mosquito Lagoon — and each time, the plans collapsed under their own weight." Response: A state-sponsored study first identified Shiloh as a potential launch site in 1989, but the site was removed from consideration prior to any formal environmental review. Unused Cape Canaveral launch pads were pursued instead, but since then the companies using leased federal pads have failed to become commercially competitive in the global launch marketplace.

The 2008 plan to develop new launch pads several miles south of Shiloh was not a Space Florida initiative. It was pursued by NASA KSC and was halted by NASA while the Space Shuttle program was still operational.

3) "Canaveral has the same legal status as Yellowstone and Yosemite and each of the other crown jewels which make up our national park system." Response: The Canaveral National Seashore (which does not include Shiloh) is designated a National Seashore and is not a "National Park" in the same category as Yellowstone or Yosemite (there are three National Parks in Florida: Biscayne National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Everglades National Park).

4) "It remains to be seen whether private commercial development is truly part of the national space program, for the purposes of NASA transferring the land for commercial use." Response: Congress and the Federal Government in multiple ways treat commercial space development as an element of our national space program. NASA and the Department of Defense are explicitly required to maximize their use of commercial space services, and the FAA has been given regulatory authority over commercial space transportation. There are also multiple elements of a regularly updated National Space Policy that focus on developing commercial space capabilities for the national good.

5) "This is all about gaining leverage on NASA to gain more flexibility for launches within KSC — where all needed launch infrastructure is currently in place." Response: Nice try. The Shiloh initiative is NOT a leverage play. Companies like SpaceX will already have to operate under FAA regulatory authority and they do not want additional layers of NASA and Air Force oversight...which is what they would get at any site owned by NASA or the Air Force.

FSDC President Supports Shiloh Launch Site in Op-Ed

June 16, 2013 - FSDC President Laura Seward says the proposed Shiloh commercial launch site on the north end of Kennedy Space Center "would attract major aerospace players who wish to operate their own facilities, and bring thousands of direct and indirect jobs." Her endorsement of Space Florida's efforts to develop the Shiloh launch site were published in the Daytona Beach News Journal on June 16. Click here to view the op-ed, and here to see the opposing position presented by a former president of the Florida Audubon Society.

FSDC Joins Effort to Keep Spaceflight Vehicles Off Munitions List

June 14, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC), a chapter of the National Space Society, has written to the U.S. Department of State to voice opposition to proposed export-control rulemaking that would add commercial human spaceflight vehicles to a Department of Defense "munitions list" and thereby place onerous restrictions on their export from the U.S.

The move is part of an ongoing (and mostly positive) effort by the Obama Administration to modify the nation's current ITAR export control policies. Commercial satellites, for example, would be moved from the DOD list to a less restrictive export control list managed by the Department of Commerce. The proposed addition of human spaceflight vehicles to the DOD list would negatively impact efforts by U.S. companies to build a U.S.-dominated international market for such vehicles.

XCOR Aerospace is one U.S. company that would be impacted by the proposed rulemaking. The company, which intends to develop and operate their next-generation Lynx vehicles in Florida, has aggressively pursued international markets for their vehicles and services. Click here to submit your own response to the rulemaking notice, required by no later than July 8.

FSDC Urges Governor to Sign Space Bills, Approve Space Funding

May 14, 2013 - With Florida's Legislative Session now ended, a collection of space-related bills and funding items has been sent to Governor Rick Scott for his approval. The Governor has broad power to veto individual items within the state's $74.5 billion budget and he is likely to target items that were not part of the original budget requests put forward by his office and the House and Senate leadership. Some of the Legislatively approved space items fall in that category.

"We encourage and thank Governor Scott for his continued leadership in growing the state's space industry," said FSDC President Laura Seward. "With his support for these issues we will keep Florida the best place to work in space."

The Florida Space Development Council has delivered a letter to Gov. Scott urging him to approve the bills and appropriations that would promote statewide space industry expansion and diversification. Here is a copy of the letter, and here is FSDC's chart summarizing the space-related issues that were considered by the Legislature this year.

FSDC Applauds Florida Legislators' Support for Space

May 6, 2013 - Amid increasing competition from other states and nations for space-related economic development, the Florida Legislature stepped up yet again to expand and diversify the state's aerospace industry. In total, the Legislature approved over $43 million in space-related investments for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

"The Florida Space Development Council appreciates the Legislature's dedication to positioning our state for an exciting future of space exploration and enterprise," said FSDC President Laura Seward. "We especially want to thank those legislators who led the charge on specific initiatives, like Rep. Steve Crisafulli, Sen. Andy Gardiner, Sen. Dorothy Hukill, Sen. Thad Altman, Rep. Will Weatherford, Sen. Don Gaetz, and Rep. Debbie Mayfield."

Here are some highlights:

  • $19.5 million for Space Florida operations and economic development programs, including $7 million for innovative financing deals, a $1.5 million recurring fund for space tourism marketing and $1 million for aerospace collaboration with Israel.
  • $20 million for spaceport infrastructure projects through the Florida Department of Transportation, vetted through a Space Florida-led statewide spaceport system plan. (Another $15 million per year is planned for the following four years.)
  • $3.5 million for education and research programs at the Florida Institute of Technology and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, plus a bio-agricultural research project at Kennedy Space Center and an expansion of the annual "space week" program that sponsors K-12 field trips to Kennedy Space Center.
  • Bills were passed to shift revenues from the state's Challenger/Columbia license plate program to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation for space education programs, to establish Space Coast Executive Airport as a state "spaceport territory," and to improve access to state tax incentives for aerospace job creation.

This list does not include some recurring space-focused budget items that remain embedded in state-university budgets at the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, for research projects and institutes, and for operation of the NASA-sponsored Florida Space Grant Consortium.

Of course, all of the items passed by the Legislature are subject to approval or veto by Governor Rick Scott, including line-item authority for each item in the state's $74.5 billion budget. FSDC will reach out to Gov. Scott to convey the support of its members for his approval of space-related investments and legislation.

FSDC Organizes Tour of SpaceX Launch Pad for Members

May 1, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) is organizing a May 17 tour of their newest corporate member's launch facilities at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. A limited number of FSDC members (U.S. citizens only) will tour SpaceX's Launch Complex 40 to see where the Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft are processed and launched. The tour will leave from the SpaceX's launch control facility at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's South Gate at 3:00 p.m. If you would like to join us, please contact FSDC President Laura Seward by Friday, May 10. Space is limited so please respond quickly to reserve your seat!

FSDC Encourages Members to Support Shiloh Initiative at County Meeting

May 1, 2013 - FSDC members are encouraged to support a proposal to establish a commercial launch complex near the borders of Volusia and Brevard counties in an area known as Shiloh. FSDC's leadership has supported the project through letters and public meetings, and is urging general membership involvement as well. The Volusia County Council will consider this resolution in support of Shiloh at their May 2 public hearing in DeLand at 2:00 p.m.

FSDC Membership Grows with Corporate and Individual Grassroots Support

April 27, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council has grown to over 75 members who assist the organization's grassroots efforts to expand and diversify the state's space industry. Membership is statewide (and in some cases out-of-state) with individual and corporate-level supporters from nearly every region of the state. The recent growth has made FSDC one of the most active and rapidly growing chapters of the National Space Society.

"FSDC is proud to grow to better represent the greater Florida space community," said FSDC President Laura Seward. "By making our voices heard we can bring about positive change within Florida and the National Space Society."

FSDC Tracks Florida Legislative Space Issues

April 4, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council applauds the Florida Legislature's support for the continued development and diversification of our state's space enterprise. The Florida Legislative Session is supposed to end on May 3 (extensions are not uncommon), probably with passage of the state's ~$74 billion budget as one of the final items to be decided. Meanwhile, several space-focused policy and funding issues remain unresolved. FSDC will use this document as a weekly scorecard until the end of the Session.

FSDC Supports Space Policy Issues in Tallahassee and at Spaceport

April 3, 2013 - The Florida Space Development Council has organized grassroots support for space policy and funding discussions in Tallahassee with the Florida Legislature, and for local-level deliberations with Volusia County and the City of Titusville. On behalf of FSDC's membership, President Laura Seward sent these letters to legislative leaders in Tallahassee in support of some specific space issues during the state's Legislative Session.

Seward also attended a March 26 Titusville City Council meeting where she spoke in support of Space Florida's efforts to establish a new "Shiloh" launch facility at the north end of Kennedy Space Center. (Council members had been hearing from opponents to the plan from some citizens.) FSDC also enlisted the support of student groups at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to promote the Shiloh project to the Volusia County Council during their April 4 meeting.

Enlisting Florida Space Companies for New Statewide Directory

March 13, 2013 -- Enterprise Florida is compiling a new directory of Florida aviation, aerospace and defense companies. The directory will be distributed at international and domestic trade shows, during Florida trade missions, and by the state's network of international offices. Click here to take a survey that will put your organization into the directory.

FSDC Brings Deep Space Industries to Cocoa Beach

March 10, 2013 -- The Florida Space Development Council will host a presentation and discussion with Deep Space Industries on March 16 at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach. Stephen Covey, a Deep Space Industries (DSI) Co-founder and Director of Research and Development, will share information on the newest asteroid mining venture, demonstrating a full-scale early prototype of the grabber component of DSI's DragonFly Asteroid Picker. He will also display meteorites and mock asteroids, and more.

Please join us in supporting this NewSpace company that may someday launch and conduct other operations in Florida. The March 16 meeting, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 2:00 p.m. The event's refreshments are sponsored by FSDC corporate members Space Florida, Terasphere, and ARES Institute.

FSDC Plans Participation in Florida Space Day in Tallahassee

February 4, 2013 -- The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC), a chapter of the National Space Society, will participate in Florida Space Day 2013, an annual space policy advocacy event held in Tallahassee during the Florida Legislative Session. This year's Space Day is planned on March 6 and will feature dozens of space industry representatives from around the state. FSDC President Laura Seward will participate on behalf of the chapter.

During meetings and other events with state legislators, Ms. Seward will discuss a list of policy objectives approved by the Space Day Steering Committee and aimed at accelerating the state's space-related economic development and diversification. FSDC plans to establish its own list of member-approved policy priorities that will be shared with state elected officials before the end of the Legislative Session. Click here for information about Space Day.

First FSDC Meeting Features 'Space Locals' Discussion on Space Enterprise Expansion

January 24, 2013 -- The inaugural meeting of the Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) will be held on February 2 in Cocoa Beach and will feature a 'Space Locals' discussion on county, regional and state-level efforts to expand the state's space industry. The meeting's featured guest will be Robert Salonen, a director responsible for aerospace-focused business expansion and retention with the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast.

"Over the past several years, Central Florida's economy has suffered major disruptions with the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, the consolidation of our unmanned launch capabilities, and a lack of focused investment to renew our nation's leadership in space exploration," said FSDC President Laura Seward. "With the potential for growth from new commercial space ventures, the efforts of state and local agencies have become much more important."

The February 2 meeting, which is free and open to FSDC members and non-members, will be held at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach at 2:00 p.m.

Space Coast NSS Chapter Changes Name to Florida Space Development Council

January 16, 2013 -- The Florida Space Coast Chapter of the National Space Society (NSS) has changed its name to the Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) to better reflect the group's focus on assisting the development of a robust space-related economy in the state. The FSDC will remain an active chapter of the NSS, working with other Florida chapters to support the NSS mission to promote social, economic, technological, and political change in order to expand civilization beyond Earth.

"Florida is a major 'space state' and deserves an active and influential NSS chapter to provide grassroots advocacy," said NSS Executive Director Paul E. Damphousse. "The Florida Space Development Council can provide support to reinforce the already-substantial efforts of Space Florida and other organizations in the state."

The newly renamed chapter will continue to sponsor bi-monthly membership meetings, featuring 'Space Locals' discussions with featured aerospace professionals and project managers. FSDC members will also develop and provide advocacy for a slate of policy priorities intended to promote the growth of space-related business, academic, and government programs at the state and federal level.

"With an annual membership rate of only five dollars, we want to broaden participation in FSDC beyond our existing NSS chapter members," said FSDC President Laura Seward. "FSDC will offer new networking opportunities and provide a grassroots voice to more Floridians on space-related policies and programs."

As part of the chapter's re-branding effort, FSDC has also unveiled a new website that features a statewide calendar of space-related events and a library of documents relevant to the state's development of space policy and programs.