Space Florida
Space FL MARCH 2009

This year is ramping up to be the most exciting for Space Florida since its inception. While there is no doubt that State budgets and overall financial limitations are affecting all businesses, we at Space Florida expect 2009 to be our busiest and most visibly progressive year since the organization was formed.

There is tremendous interest in our work at Launch Complex 36, so I wanted to address this area first. Before the beginning of summer, we hope to receive a “CATEX” (“Categorical Exclusion”) from the U.S. Air Force for the Launch Complex. This is great news for Space Florida. Essentially, the exclusion means that, since the environmental standing of the pad is equivalent to that of when it was originally decommissioned by the Air Force, there is no need to go through a traditional environmental assessment of the land. This expedites a typically lengthy process down to three to six months – enabling us to proceed on next steps for building out actual infrastructure on Pad A early this summer.

As we await environmental approval, we are working diligently with RS&H, our engineering contractor, and the customers who have provided their specific launch requirements in order to be able to launch from LC-36. We anticipate the first draft of the Launch Complex 36 engineering design to be ready, along with a more final rendering of Pad A, in early April. We look forward to sharing those with you.

In relation to LC-36, we have received the first shipment of surplus components from the NASA Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California for placement and eventual use at LC-36. These NASA surplus items include pressure vessels and the associated valves, piping, and hardware, which will be reutilized at the new launch complex, and may provide additional incentive for interested launch service providers that fly liquid-propellant vehicles.

Launch Complex 36 is not the only Space Florida launch facility undergoing change. The FAA recently approved the consolidation of Launch Site Operators License requests for LC-46 with LC-36, meaning the request for both sites will be significantly streamlined for rapid approval by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The formal request was made on January 27 and was approved within a month. The speed with which these milestones are occurring is a positive sign for all of us, as we work to expand the next generation of launch and payload business from Florida.

In relation to next steps – Space Florida is now seeking approval on the Explosive Site Plan for LC-46, a Joint Use Agreement with the Naval Ordnance Test Unit, and a Real Property License from the 45th Space Wing. We anxiously anticipate receiving a signed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) from the Navy in the very near future.

As we aggressively pursue these and other efforts to expand the space industry in Florida, it is important to know that Space Florida is working closely with NASA, the DoD, and the NSSO (National Security Space Office). Collectively, these relationships have not existed in the past. We are leveraging all opportunities to the fullest extent possible to support the launch needs of these organizations and influence the success of the space sector in our state.

Compared to the financial size of these agencies (NASA, DoD, NSS), Space Florida is relatively small at this time. For example, NASA/KSC was responsible for nearly $1.2 billion in contracts for the region in FY08, a 14% increase over the previous year. By working together with these much larger organizations – by securing additional Constellation work through NASA, working with Air Force Space Command on “Range of the Future” planning, and aligning our strategies closely with the NSSO’s existing focus on commercial space – we greatly increase our chances for success.

One last thought on success. As we returned from Space Day in Tallahassee earlier this month – the most widely attended to date – we had an opportunity to meet with the 36 newly-elected officials (and almost every elected legislator and their key staff) to tell Florida’s space industry story. I personally came away from these meetings feeling confident in our elected officials and their commitment to helping Florida regain its position as a leader in space industry launch and payload design, manufacturing, test and integration. As you know, our level of success is proportional to the level of our legislators’ support. Based on these and other recent meetings with our state leaders, I truly believe we are poised to win.

My goal is to keep you and all of our stakeholders apprised of our progress throughout this year. In addition to this quarterly communication, we are utilizing a number of communication channels, including our website ( and our social media outlets, so you can follow our advancements.

Best Regards,

Steve Kohler
President, Space Florida


Letter From the President
Business Development
Spaceport Operations
Legislative Update
Education and Workforce


3/25-27 Satellite 2009
Washington, D.C.
3/26 Florida Venture Forum Angel Funding and Venture Capital Panel, Melbourne
3/31-4/2 National Space Symposium, Colorado Springs
5/15 Florida Venture Forum Early Stage Venture Capital Conference, Orlando (ChampionsGate)
5/28-31 Space Investment Summit/ISDC, Orlando


As we continue to grow and modify our website, we have added a few exciting new elements to the site, including:

Fact Sheets: These one-page, downloadable fact sheets provide a quick overview of Space Florida facilities, for use in our Business Development and Spaceport Operations initiatives. Currently, fact sheets are available for the Space Life Sciences Laboratory and the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) Hangar on the “Facility Fact Sheets” page of the website.

Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In: Space Florida has established social media outreach via Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In. If you are a member of any of these groups, please feel free to follow our news and announcements. There are “widgets” placed on our homepage that allow you to easily join each group and follow our progress. We hope you agree that social media is an important medium to rapidly and directly respond to key stakeholders. The social media format is less formal than official press releases or opinion editorials, which occur less frequently and are often restricted to a word count size.

New Web Header: You may also notice a new look to our website header, at the top of each page. As we focus on our business strategy, we thought it was appropriate to reflect that in our web graphics. You’ll notice embedded in this new header are images of a commercial satellite, life sciences research and even a preliminary rendering of Launch Complex 36.


On January 26, Lockheed Martin hosted a public announcement and celebration of the historic Operations and Checkout (O&C) building. The facility is now certified to build the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), an important element of NASA’s Constellation Program.

Space Florida was integral in providing $35 million in pass-through funding for the two-year high-bay refurbishment, a total $55 million project. According to the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, the refurbishment project provided more than 230 construction-related jobs to residents and, per Lockheed Martin, the Orion program is projected to employ about 400 individuals once it is initiated.

The next phase of activation for the O&C will include the integration of specially-designed tooling stations and other assembly equipment for Orion. According to Lockheed representatives, assembly activity is currently scheduled to begin in 2012.

The O&C facility has a 40+ year history as an integration and checkout point for U.S. spacecraft, beginning with the Apollo program.


In February, a group of space industry veterans gathered for a preliminary design review of Launch Complex 36. The group, made up of former 45th Space Wing and launch industry managers totaling over 150 years of experience at the Eastern Range, all had previous experience with Launch Complex 36 operations when it was an active Air Force pad. Also included in the review team was Space Florida Board member Mr. Silas “Sy” Baker, a former vice chair of the Board of Supervisors for Florida Space Authority and a former Lockheed Martin Atlas Program Director.

In addition to reviewing the design plans for the site, the Space Florida Design Team presented an overview of the Commercial Launch Zone (CLZ) concept to the group.

“Several useful recommendations came from this knowledgeable group, which we will incorporate into our final design,” noted Mark Bontrager, vice president of spaceport operations for Space Florida. “For example, it was recommended that we develop alternative launch complex layouts to take into account prevailing winds, more detailed methods of vehicle processing, and even electrical requirements for the different kinds of propellants we might need to accommodate on the pad. We are grateful for their expertise and took away some great ideas.”

The group also made recommendations on how to best utilize new technologies to reduce operations and maintenance costs to the site, while designing for multiple launch vehicle customer capabilities.

The group also made recommendations on how to best utilize new technologies to reduce operations and maintenance costs to the site and make the complex as accommodating to new customers as possible.

Site surveys at LC-36 have already been initiated and are currently examining the present state of the utilities and other infrastructure on the pad. USAF decommissioning and demolition activities are concluded on the original site, and we continue to work closely with the 45th Space Wing as we investigate the current state of electrical, water, sewer, and communications capabilities. Refurbishment and reactivation of the Launch Complex will take place once a final property license is secured from the Air Force.

Click here to view a larger image of the LC-36 pad rendering.


A day after Florida’s 2009 regular legislative session opened, a record number of aerospace industry companies and organizations, represented by the highest number of attendees since its inception, conducted Space Day legislative education on March 4.

Nearly 80 participants met in groups with legislators and their staff to highlight key issues facing the industry, as well as key legislative priorities to help address the focus of developing a more diversified and robust aerospace economy in Florida. These discussions generated dozens of co-sponsors to space-related bills including: the Commercial Launch Zone, workforce funding support, STRDI FAA Center of Excellence, Research and Development and infrastructure topics. Together, these successes validate that space is a priority for the Florida legislature, especially in these difficult economic times.

Duval Middle School teacher Kevin Simmons prepares his experiment in Molecular Adhesion & Bioreactor Fluid Mechanics.
University of Central Florida Professor Dr. Josh Coldwell straps down his experiment to determine how planets are formed.
Carla Savage, a science teacher from Auburndale High School in Polk County, watches her floating experiment during flight.

Rollover pictures to view captions


Space Florida recently completed a four-flight contract with the Zero G Corporation at Kennedy Space Center to benefit more than 3,000 Florida students in 36 counties across the state. During their flight on Zero G’s plane, which mimics Lunar, Martian and Zero G microgravity weightlessness, each of the nearly 130 educators and researchers had the opportunity to conduct scientific experiments, developed with their students, to record the effects of microgravity. The impacts of these experiments go far beyond the classroom. A sampling of the most interesting projects included:

Growing Plants During Long-Term Space Missions – Dr. Gary Stutte with NASA’s Space Life Sciences Lab (a Space Florida holding), utilized a microgravity experiment to evaluate solid media and how it may be used to grow plants during long-duration space missions. Plant life may assist in sustaining future astronauts and space travelers. It is anticipated that the G-forces associated with space transit, lunar and Mars surface conditions will significantly impact the distribution and “packing” of particles. According to Dr. Stutte, the experiment yielded a wealth of results that will be reported in the near future.

Innovative Heart Monitor – A small, portable, non-invasive heart monitor (the size of a credit card!) was tested on one of the Space Florida-sponsored Zero G flights to verify it is ready for use in space. The experiment was conducted by Dr. Marc O’Griofa of Bionetics and the final results from this experiment will go directly to the Astronaut medical team at Kennedy Space Center. Additional applications for this device include monitoring patients from home (versus keeping them hospitalized) and use on the battlefield, to prioritize urgent care needs of soldiers.

How Planets Begin – Dr. Josh Coldwell of the University of Central Florida used a free-floating experiment during flight that housed the videotaping of a projectile impacting a sand target at speeds too low to achieve in normal gravity. Debris resulting from impact was measured and will help determine how the “precursors” to planets formed from colliding dust particles. “Weightlessness is an amazing experience,” noted Dr. Coldwell. “Objects don’t behave the way we intuitively expect them to, and that’s part of what makes it such a valuable and unique environment for the kinds of experiments I’m doing.”

Lunar Soil Effects on Vision During Landing – The visual reduction caused by a rocket plume scattering dirt upon lunar landing was requested by NASA Centers and can be best demonstrated on a zero gravity flight. Photos were taken of dust clouds created within test boxes on the flight and results were recorded and reported by Dr. Tom Moss of the NASA Space Physics Lab.

More than 200 Florida teachers submitted 500-word essays to Space Florida regarding how they would utilize their microgravity experience in the classroom. Top essays were selected by the Space Florida Education Team and the authors of those essays were invited to participate in the flights.

space florida
  Copyright © 2009 Space Florida, all rights reserved Questions/Concerns? Contact

Hi, just a reminder that you're receiving this email because you subscribed via a business and/or trade event or are related to our organization. You may unsubscribe if you're no longer interested in receiving these messages.