Home >> December 2008 Edition >> YIR: Space Florida
YIR: Space Florida
by Steve Kohler, President

2008: In 2008, Space Florida worked with the U.S. Air Force to announce a significant achievement – the turnover and official lease of Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the State of Florida. While the lease itself for commercial build out may not seem like big news, the timeframe in which it was conducted was telling. In an environment where traditional launch processes typically require years of review and assessment, this request was accomplished within the course of several months. This achievement demonstrated the increasing willingness by the Air Force to embrace the future of commercial space at Cape Canaveral, a site that has, in recent years, been focused on civil and military launch.

The Air Force even went so far as to stand up a commercial launch office at the Cape and is now working with Space Florida to initiate the C.A.S.P.E.R. Program (Customer Assistance Service Program for the Eastern Range), providing no-fee assistance to commercial customers to quickly and efficiently get through the launch preparation process. This is good news for those in the satellite industry who may not have considered Florida in the past.

It’s hard to argue the impact of the satellite industry is significant. According the SIA’s 2008 Futron Study, satellites are the largest source of revenue for the commercial space business. Additionally, Futron projects an average 6 percent annual growth from 2006-2015 in overall demand for fixed satellite capacity. The largest demand growth is anticipated in the consumer services arena. Not surprisingly, this is one of the reasons Space Florida has identified the satellite industry as a primary commercial target for Launch Complex 36.

Space Florida sees Launch Complex 36 as a foundation for a Commercial Launch Zone (CLZ), which would encompass several launch sites at Cape Canaveral, Space Florida’s Space Life Sciences Laboratory and other locally-based payload manufacturing sites. This zone would reach vertically into LEO, GEO, and beyond, enabling the benefits of a Free Trade Zone to commercial payload customers, like those in the satellite industry.

The designation of a Commercial Launch Zone in this area would give Florida a unique competitive advantage for commercial payload and launch customers that want to utilize the decades of launch and range safety experience the Cape has to offer, while eliminating traditional bureaucratic requirements that may have kept commercial customers from utilizing Florida as a launch or manufacturing base in the past. In addition, the designation of this “CLZ” will enable a variety of tax benefits for commercial entities wishing to launch from Space Florida’s facilities at the Cape. Space Florida is currently pursuing both Federal and State legislation to make the CLZ a reality.

This expanded commercial focus, coupled with the more than five decades of space legacy at Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center, provides great opportunity for commercial customers. The area already boasts a highly-trained, space-savvy workforce and proven infrastructure, as well as a culture well versed in the safety requirements of our unique industry.

Space Florida is currently conducting environmental impact assessments of Launch Complex 36 and is planning to have Pad A ready for its first launch by Fall 2010. Space Florida is currently discussing use options with a number of domestic commercial launch providers and will also engage in similar talks with civil and military entities that are interested in launching from the facility.

2009: Launch Complex 36 is one of several holdings by Space Florida that will enable future commercial interests, specifically to the satellite industry. Launch Complex 46, a multi-vehicle launch pad, and the Reusable Launch Vehicle Hangar also provide opportunities for satellite manufacturers and launch providers that may be interested in expanding operations into Florida’s East Coast. In addition, Space Florida recently worked with SpaceX to secure Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral AFS.

U.S. Air Force and State government dignitaries break ground on Space Florida’s Launch Complex 36, October 22, 2008. (From Left to Right) General Susan Helms (45th Space Wing), Florida Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Lt. General William Shelton (Commander, 14th Air Force, A.F. Space Command), Space Florida President Steve Kohler, Space Florida Board Member Lloyd “Fig” Newton

About the author
Steve Kohler, President of Space Florida, was selected in October 2006 to lead the newly created organization that was formed from the Space Florida Act. Prior to joining Space Florida, Steve served as CEO for Winner Global Defense LLC, a privately held company that focuses on military and non-military applications of aircraft countermeasures. Other technology offerings include high rise building exterior evacuation systems and vapor based laser detection systems using Israeli design and laser based detection technologies. Steve’s responsibilities include managing Winner’s anti-terrorism interests, including but not limited, to identification of emerging security technologies involving products or services that have market potential in government or consumer sectors. This effort has a specific focus and relationship with anti-terrorism technologies emanating from Israel. Previously, Steve served as Senior Vice President for Corporate Advisory Services for CB Richard Ellis/Pittsburgh. In that capacity, he specialized in office and industrial real estate development, private and public finance, and brokerage, including developing partnerships with public-sector organizations.

About Space Florida
Space Florida was created by the State of Florida to strengthen the state’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida's aerospace development organization, they are focused on attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses, including commercial interests.